Making the Piarere crossing safer
I was pleased to be in the company of Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Tim Macindoe and Louise Upston for the announcement that one of New Zealand’s most dangerous roads is about to be upgraded to improve the link between Hamilton and Tauranga.
This follows on from the initial investment made into the link of Hamilton to Auckland.
The NZ Transport Agency has undertaken significant consultation with road users, which has culminated in the project team and stakeholders favouring a four-lane expressway for the stretch of highway from south of the Waikato Expressway up to and including the SH1/29 intersection.
The final route will be determined during the next stage of investigations, but the favoured corridor between Karapiro Road and the SH1/29 intersection (and alongside Lake Karapiro) is located north of the current road.
Though more work is needed before a final decision can be made, NZTA felt it was important to share the favoured option, because of the effect that this scale of works will have on the large numbers of people who use the road and the people who live and work in the immediate vicinity.
The number of deaths and serious injury crashes on the Cambridge to Piarere corridor is expected to reduce by more than 70 per cent through the improvements. Five people died and 14 were seriously injured in crashes on the route over the five years from 2011-15.
The favoured option will significantly improve safety by ensuring the road has the latest design and eliminating conflict between local traffic and state highway users.
Further detailed investigation and reporting now needs to be undertaken before the favoured option— known as E2 in the consultation phase— goes to the NZ Transport Agency board. The final decision will be announced later this year.
Meanwhile, $8.1 million in short-term safety improvements get under way on the existing route later this year. These include a wide centre-line, roadside barriers at highrisk areas, upgraded signage and a rightturn bay into Keeley’s Landing.
We are excited to note the announcement of Hamilton as the new home for the HSBC Sevens from 2018. We feel confident that the decision to host the Sevens is supported by the improved accessibility to Hamilton from our closest port city and the largest city in New Zealand. Read more about the favoured Option E2 on the project website: www.nzta.govt.nz/c2p
From left, Members of Parliament Tim Macindoe, Simon Bridges, Louise Upston and David Bennett at Piarere Crossing.