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Entire Whakatū Arterial Link road ready to take traffic

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Ahead of schedule, the entire Whakatū Arterial Link road is ready to take traffic from 5am tomorrow [Wednesday, December 19].

The largest roading project in Hawke’s Bay since the Napier-Hastings expressway was built in 2002, it is a huge milestone for this 3.5km route that will transform traffic flow to and from State Highway 2, Clive, Havelock North and Pākōwhai.

The completion of the route marks the end of a process that began in 2012 when the Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and NZTA adopted the Heretaunga Plains Transportation Study that identified the Whakatū Arterial project as the highest priority transportation project for the region.

The objective of the road is to enhance and improve the safety and efficiency of the transport network across the region.

This includes minimising traffic, particularly freight traffic, through Whakatū for the safety of residents, as well as providing convenient, efficient and safe access between Havelock North and Napier, including the airport.

Higgins Contractors Ltd started building the road in January 2017, and project manager Leslie van Heerden said the company was proud to have been involved in building the road for improved safety and efficiency.

“This route removes dangerous intersections at Napier Rd, Pilcher Rd and Ruahāpia/Pākōwhai Rd, at the same time as enhancing access to the Port.”

The route is also projected to support economic growth and productivity benefits for the whole region.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the completion of this project was a significant milestone for the council, and all of Hawke’s Bay. 

“It is hugely exciting to have this road open to traffic – it has been a major undertaking for both council and our community.

“The route provides a safe connection for our people, our products and our produce, and supports economic growth for the whole region.”

She added that the neighbouring community had been extremely helpful and supportive throughout the construction project.

Some beautification work still needed to be completed, among a number of finishing touches including the name for the new route which was yet to be finalised. The road had been blessed by local iwi, and a celebration of the project would be held in the New Year.

*The first section from the Pākōwhai roundabout to Whakatū and State Highway 2 opened on November 19.

Phase 2 of the project from the State Highway 2 roundabout at Napier Rd opens on December 19, at which time the Ruahāpia railway crossing will be permanently closed to traffic, although access remains for cyclists and pedestrians.

Ruahāpia Road, from State Highway 2 to Otene Rd will still be available to residents, pedestrians and cyclists.

Farmlands will be able to be accessed via Whakatū Rd from the new road.

20 December 2018

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