Work is set to start on a new roundabout that will replace the T-intersection where State Highway 3 meets State Highway 37 – the gateway to the world-famous Waitomo Caves.
The NZ Transport Agency’s principal safety engineer Michelle Te Wharau says the new three-legged roundabout will improve safety at the intersection, which has been the site of several serious crashes, including two fatal crashes in 2012.
Work will start on January 19 and the $3.6 million project is expected to be finished in May this year.
“We are pleased to see the roundabout getting under way as we're committed to reducing the risk of crashes at this intersection,” Mrs Te Wharau says.
“The new roundabout will be built about 60 metres north of the current intersection.
“As part of the project, SH37 will be realigned to improve its link to the new SH3 intersection and a right-turn bay will be built on SH3 for improved access to Mangarino Road.”
Mrs Te Wharau says the Transport Agency has worked closely with the Waitomo District Council, Police, other road safety partners and the community to identify the best way to improve the intersection.
The roundabout option was selected after public consultation and an investigation by traffic safety experts.
“Roundabouts are a more forgiving intersection if people make mistakes. It is also easier for road users to navigate smoothly through and find their turn off,” she says.
Mrs Te Wharau urged drivers to continue to take extra care through the existing intersection and work site over the next few months.
A temporary 70km/h speed reduction has been in place at the site since September 2012. There will be slower speed limits in place from time to time once the work starts on the new roundabout, and we thank people driving through the site for their continuing patience while the work is underway.
“We would like to thank all those who have been involved and had input in the project, ,” Mrs Te Wharau says.
The design of the new roundabout. Click here [PDF, 1.3 MB] to download or view a larger version (PDF, 1,37MB).
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