Work on a roundabout to improve safety in the Waitomo district will start in January 2015. The intersection of SH3/37 – the turnoff to the Waitomo Caves – will be replaced with a three-legged roundabout, relocated about 60 metres north of the existing intersection.
The NZ Transport Agency says the construction of a roundabout will improve safety at the intersection which has been the site of several serious crashes, including two fatal ones in 2012.
The intersection is the gateway to the world-famous Waitomo Caves and 1300 vehicles a day use SH37 to and from the Caves. The roundabout will be a safer entry and exit to and from SH37 for tourists and locals.
A roundabout is viewed as a forgiving form of intersection that encourages travellers to slow when approaching. It is also easier for road users to navigate smoothly through and find their turn off.
A temporary speed reduction of 70km/h has been in place since September 2012
The NZ Transport Agency worked with the Waitomo District Council, police and other road safety partners to identify opportunities for improvements at this intersection
About 6500 vehicles per day pass the turnoff on SH3, 1300 a day use SH37 and 450 vehicles a day use Mangarino Road.
A three-legged roundabout, see Option 4 graphic on this page. SH37 will be realigned to improve its link to the new SH3 intersection, and there will be a right-turn bay introduced on SH3 for Mangarino Road.