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Work begins to improve passing opportunities in Wharerata Ranges

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Work commences next week on the extension of a slow vehicle bay in the Wharerata Ranges to improve the safety of State Highway 2 in the Tairāwhiti region.

A blessing was held nearby at Te Taumata o Wharerata (the Wharerata Lookout), led by Rangiwaho Marae, to mark the beginning of the work, which is expected to be completed by mid-October.

Senior Project Manager Rob Patridge says the site is within the wider Connecting Tairāwhiti programme, which aims to make State Highways 2 and 35 safer.

“With the state highway through the Wharerata Ranges being steep and windy, drivers can become frustrated when they are stuck behind a slow-moving truck. By making the existing slow vehicle bay longer we provide a safer opportunity for those vehicles to pass.”

The work will commence on Wednesday 14 April, with four weeks of bulk earthworks and tree removal being carried out before the winter season. The remaining six weeks of work will be carried out from September and will include stabilisation and pavement construction.

During construction the existing slow vehicle lane will not be operational, with safety around the site being managed through a combination of stop-go and automated traffic management.

The Wharerata slow vehicle bay project is part of the State Highway 2/State Highway 35 Passing Opportunities project, which will construct more than 20 passing opportunities, such as slow vehicle bays, at selected sites on SH2, between Napier and Ōpōtiki, and SH35, between Gisborne and Hicks Bay.

The State Highway 2/State Highway 35 Passing Opportunities project is funded by the Provincial Growth Fund and the National Land Transport Fund, with an allocation of $35.5 million.

Work on the Wharerata slow vehicle lane is one of eight passing opportunities projects being completed on State Highway 2, between Napier and Gisborne this year.

One slow vehicle bay has already been completed at Matahorua, between Napier and Wairoa, and another is under construction just north of that at Kotemāori.

For more on this project go to nzta.govt.nz/projects/connecting-tairawhiti/sh2-sh35-passing-opportunities/(external link) or check our interactive map at nzta.govt.nz/projects/connecting-tairawhiti/sh2-sh35-passing-opportunities/project-sites/(external link)

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