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Whakatu Link ‘driveable’; ready by December

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Bird’s eye view: The partly built Pakowhai Rd roundabout from the air. Photo: Above Hawke’s Bay

The new Whakatu Link Route now has a “driveable road surface”, with just the final two layers to go.

The building of the last of the three large roundabouts on the Whakatu Link Route is proceeding at pace; while the new road linking those roundabouts is 80 per cent complete with just the crushed gravel and chip seal layers to be laid.

Two-thirds of the Pakowhai roundabout is being constructed off to the sides of the road, with no impact on the traffic until the centre piece is started. “It is a great way to build a roundabout,” said Hastings District Council works and services deputy chairman Rod Heaps.

“We have done it twice now; building each side of the roundabout off to the sides of the road then, towards the end, moving the traffic onto the newly formed outer roads while the centre of the roundabout is completed.”

Reports from on-site showed drivers appreciated the system as well. “Traffic is flowing smoothly and the road works-related speed limits are being adhered to,” Mr Heaps said.

Along the new road, the two bottom layers, engineered fill and gravel, have been laid. Work on the next layer of crushed gravel has started, after which there will only be the seal coat to go.

“That means we now have a driveable road surface from one end to the other. Even if we get wet weather we will be able to continue with that third layer and the timing will be right to lay the seal in spring, as the weather warms up,” Mr Heaps said.

The Pakowhai roundabout will have a standard four-leg layout, with one of those legs being the access to Pakowhai Regional Park, a very popular dog-walking area. “It will be very much safer than it traditionally has been, with a new two-lane access that leads to and from the roundabout.”

Associated work to bring a left-turning slip-lane down from Farndon Rd to the new roundabout is also progressing. Once the project is completed, there will be no right turn out of Farndon Rd towards Napier.

“These are all very important safety measures that we are very pleased to be able to incorporate into the Whakatu Link project,” said Mr Heaps.

Work on the 3.5 kilometre route, linking State Highway 2 at Mangateretere with Pakowhai Rd via the Whakatu industrial area, started in January 2017. It was designed to enable produce to be efficiently moved from the growing areas to processing facilities and onto routes to main export links. It will also remove heavy traffic from residential roads in Whakatu, making it safer for families, and resolve congestion issues on Ruahapia Rd. It is the largest road-building project in Hawke’s Bay since the construction of the Napier-Hastings expressway in 2001.

21 February 2019

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