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Last Whakatu roundabout underway

Pakowhai Road Small

The entrance to Pakowhai Regional Park – the district’s most popular dog walking area - is temporarily moving to Farndon Rd from about mid-May.

A start on the last major roundabout on the 3.5km Whakatu Arterial Link is about to get underway. It is being placed directly outside of the entrance to the Pakowhai park, which means its entrance will need to be closed while the work is carried out. Once the roundabout is finished the main entrance will go back to Pakowhai Rd, and will feature a new, larger car park.

The third roundabout is the last stage of the two-year project to build the new road, due to be finished by the end of this year. It has been designed to streamline delivery of produce to the region’s main processing hub in Whakatu, and then onto main export links heading out of the district. By encouraging heavy vehicles not to use the residential streets in Whakatu, it will also contribute to safety and quality of life in that area.

The construction plan for the roundabout has been carefully coordinated to ensure as little disruption to traffic as possible, said Hastings District Council works and services committee chairman Kevin Watkins.

“We want it to go as well as the installation of the Mangateretere roundabout between Hastings and Clive. Of course there is always some disruption, but by building the sections that are not in the current roadway first we can make very good progress and then shift the traffic towards the end of the installation.”

That NZTA is building a roundabout on the expressway at the same time does make things a little more difficult, Mr Watkins said.  “It means we must ensure that both our organisations’ constructions go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”

NZ Transport Agency System manager Wayne Oldfield says the NZTA project, which involves realigning the Links road and Pakowhai road approaches to a new roundabout on SH50, as well as upgrading 1.38 kilometres of the Expressway, is well underway and will be completed ahead of the Whakatu project. “By constructing the two projects in parallel we are able to reduce the longer term disruption to the customer.”

Planning for the western end of the Whakatu Link project has been intricate, given the popularity of the dog park and that there are 2000 daffodil bulbs near the entrance that are being lifted and then replanted once the roundabout is completed. The bulbs were planted at the time of the new millennium and marked with a plaque. Council has been in discussions with the committee behind the planting; keeping the members abreast of the plans to ensure they and the plaque are properly re-homed.

In a related project and during the same timeframe, the intersection of Farndon and Pakowhai roads will be altered, to remove the option of turning right out of Farndon Rd. The road safety project will help address issues behind a high number of vehicle crashes at the intersection. Over the last 10 years there have been 25 crashes within a 50 metre radius of the intersection, including one fatal and one serious injury crash.

Drivers wanting to turn right out of Farndon Rd will need to first turn left, then go around the roundabout before heading north, towards Napier.


1 June 2018

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