Work has now begun on installing safety improvements on State Highways 3 and 3A between New Plymouth and Hāwera.
The safety improvement programme was launched at Mangorei School, just 400 metres from the intersection of Mangorei Road and SH3/Junction Road.
The works include an intersection speed zone and installation of flexible median barriers immediately north of Junction Street, and between Junction Street and Mangorei Road, New Plymouth. The 420-metre southbound passing lane at Junction St, which is much shorter than the minimum safe overtaking length of 600m-800m, will be removed as part of these works.
Mangorei School principal Gary Poulgrain is looking forward to the benefits the construction of a roundabout at the intersection will bring.
“Safety is paramount for the school and there’s currently a high level of apprehension amongst families as they approach the Mangorei Road/SH3 intersection with vehicles coming from a numbers of directions, at high speeds.
“For many parents on our field trips they predominantly turn left and go down Mangorei Road, as opposed to trying to navigate the 100km intersection if they turn right.”
In the lead up to the programme launch, pupils at Mangorei School were invited to draw an image of what their ideal roundabout would look like and what it would include. Ideas ranged from having the school principal in the middle, to a tropical island, to a school playground.
As part of the project, Waka Kotahi is planning the installation of six kilometres of flexible median barriers at five sites between Inglewood and Hāwera, to begin in early 2024, while later this year enabling works will commence in advance of an early 2024 start to construction of a roundabout at the Mangorei Road intersection.
An intersection speed zone will also be installed as part of the project – designed to increase safety for all road users by detecting when traffic is approaching the highway from Junction Street or turning right into Junction Street from the highway, and temporarily reducing the local SH3 speed limit to 60kmh.
The entire New Plymouth to Hāwera project will improve safety for more than 65km of Taranaki highway, through the installation of flexible median barriers and turnaround facilities on SH3 and widening of the centreline on SH3A.
Waka Kotahi Senior Project Manager Sree Nutulapati says this part of the network is a crucial link for communities travelling between Taranaki and Manawatū. Currently anywhere between 7,500 and 15,000 vehicles travel SH3 every day and 3,500 vehicles use SH3A.
“SH3 is considered a high risk rural road with road crashes resulting in two deaths or serious injuries every year.
“In the period between 2018 and 2022, there were nine deaths and 40 serious-injury crashes.
“Road fatalities and injuries, regardless of their severity, are unacceptable. That’s why we are investing in making road safety one of our priorities.
“Thousands of people every day rely on our state highway network, to freight goods around the country, to run their business and to connect with communities, friends and whanau. It’s crucial people feel safe in their travels. Projects like the one on SH3 and 3A are key to making people feel safe,” says Mr Nutulapati.