Work to start on safety improvements for route into Rotorua


Construction of key safety improvements on Rotorua’s main gateway for traffic from Hamilton and Tauranga will get underway from Monday.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships Steve Mutton says the State Highway 5 Tarukenga to Ngongotahā safety and State Highway 5/36 roundabout improvements project will make this busy stretch of state highway safer, with roundabout improvements to accommodate more traffic.

“It’s fantastic to be getting underway with work that will significantly improve the safety of this important, high-use route and busy intersection.”

Construction will begin on a 2.4km section of the state highway between Dalbeth and Dansey Roads.

This project is part of the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme announced earlier this year.

“The regional package isn’t just about delivering key infrastructure projects, it’s about keeping everyone moving, boosting productivity and saving lives,” Mr Mutton said.

$14 million is being contributed from the regional package to improve safety along SH5 and reduce congestion at the SH5/SH36 roundabout. This is in addition to the $1 million provided by Waka Kotahi through its Safe Network Programme for the design of the safety improvements. 

Between 2015 – 2019 there were two deaths, four serious injuries and 23 minor injuries resulting from crashes on this stretch of road. Most were caused by vehicles running off the road or by head-on collisions.  There has also been one fatality on this section of road this year.

“We all have a responsibility to make good choices on the roads, but we all make mistakes. That’s why we’re working to improve the safety of our roads and roadsides,” says Mr Mutton.

The safety improvements project covers 8.1km of state highway, starting in the west near Tarukenga and ending at the SH5/SH36 roundabout. Improvements include widening SH5 to allow for a new wide centreline, sections of median barrier, roadside barriers, laying rumble strips and shortening the existing passing lane so vehicles can merge safely. 

The SH5/SH36 roundabout has been the site of one serious crash and six minor crashes between 2015-2019.

The roundabout upgrade will address community concerns about congestion and provide for a safer and more efficient intersection. Construction will include an additional lane around the roundabout, as well as on all approaches to, and exits from, the roundabout. This work is due to get underway later this year.

The project is expected to take 12 months to complete.

Traffic impacts – what’s happening and when?

The first 2.4km section of this project is being completed by the local maintenance contractor, Higgins, who is also reconstructing parts of SH5 between Dalbeth Road and Dansey Road.

The job has been split into three 800m sections and will be completed one section at a time. The first section to get underway is at the Rotorua end, near Dansey Road.

People can expect to see activity on site on from Monday 31 August, as the contractor sets up the site in preparation for construction to start Tuesday. This work is expected to be finished mid-December.

A temporary speed limit and warning signs will be in place during construction, with Stop/Go traffic management in place at times. Motorists may experience minor delays, and Waka Kotahi thanks everyone for their patience.

While work is underway, the rest area will be closed to the general public.

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