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Last Whakatu roundabout on its way

whakatu3 SmallDespite the wet weather, work on the Pakowhai roundabout is proceeding with the whole of the Whakatu Link Route still expected to be completed by the end of the year.

At present construction is mainly off the road, on the Pakowhai Regional Park side of the road. As with the first of the Whakatu roundabouts, on SH2 between Hastings and Clive, as much of the work as possible is being carried out off to the sides of the road before moving into the carriageway.

That construction plan means the impact on road users can be kept to the minimum, said Hastings District Council works and services committee chairman Kevin Watkins. “Impact cannot be completely avoided, but doing it this way does minimise it. We do have speed restrictions in the area now and we ask that drivers abide by them. They are there for the safety of road users and the teams working at the site.”

The roundabout is the third and last on the new Whakatu Link Route, linking SH2 and Pakowhai Rd through the Whakatu industrial area. The road has been designed to ease the transport of fresh produce from the growing fields to the processing areas and out to the routes that take it to market, and to take heavy trucks off the residential streets of Whakatu, making them safer for families.

The work on the new road linking the ‘peanut’ roundabout in Whakatu and the Pakowhai roundabout is also on-going. As that road is being constructed away from current road ways, it has no impact on traffic.

At the same time a southbound ‘feeder’ merge lane is being constructed between Farndon Rd and the new roundabout and the right turn out of Farndon Rd, heading to Napier, is being closed. Both moves are designed to vastly improve safety at the Farndon Rd intersection, Mr Watkins said.

To enable the final roundabout to be constructed, the normal access to Pakowhai Regional Park (commonly known as Pakowhai dog park) has had to be closed, with users being directed to use the Farndon Rd entrance. A revamped entrance to the park will be off the new roundabout.

Even with the very wet weather making construction difficult, the project remains on schedule to be finished by the end of the year. “We’re very pleased with the way this is going and we’re looking forward to an official opening in the new year – most likely in February,” said Mr Watkins.

One of the muddiest jobs will be the removal of the daffodils planted 18 years ago at the entrance to Pakowhai Regional Park to mark the new millennium. The 1000-plus bulbs are due to be collected up into a temporary dirt mound and will be replanted near the car park once the new entrance has been completed. The plaque explaining the daffodil field will also be reinstalled.

19 June 2018

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