One round­about com­ing right up

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Work to build a round­about at one of the Far North’s most loathed in­ter­sec­tions is due to be­gin by the mid­dle of this year.

The Waipapa Rd-State High­way 10 in­ter­sec­tion near Kerik­eri is in­fa­mous for its con­ges­tion and risk, and has been the sub­ject of lob­by­ing by coun­cils and lo­cal res­i­dents for close to 30 years.

The de­lays had looked set to con­tinue, but a grant of up to $9 mil­lion from the gov­ern­ment’s Pro­vin­cial Growth Fund has bumped it up the NZTA’s to-do list.

Re­gional Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Shane Jones said at a site bless­ing by hapu¯ Nga¯ti Re­hia last week that the round­about, which had “suf­fered the ges­ta­tion of some sort of di­nosaur,” was the first road­ing project to ben­e­fit from the PGF, which would be used to speed up some vi­tal road­ing projects and “get some of the more egre­gious cases of road fail­ure fixed up.”

Nine mil­lion dol­lars was a “stu­pen­dous amount” for a North­land road­ing project though, and he urged con­trac­tors to “sharpen their pen­cils” and de­liver well within bud­get.

An emo­tional Ann Court, who be­gan cam­paign­ing for the round­about 29 years ago, long be­fore she be­came a district coun­cil­lor, said mo­torists would no longer have to risk their lives run­ning the gaunt­let of the in­ter­sec­tion or get stuck for long pe­ri­ods at 5pm.

The round­about had gone close to be­ing built 10 years ago, un­til a new gov­ern­ment with dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties was elected, the les­son be­ing that if some­thing was im­por­tant, “you stick at it, you never give up.”

Raewyn Bleak­ley (NZTA) said road­ing con­sul­tants Opus had be­gun de­tailed de­sign work for the round­about in Novem­ber, with sur­vey­ing and geotech­ni­cal test­ing car­ried out in De­cem­ber.

A pre­ferred con­trac­tor would be named by the end of March, with “en­abling works,” such as mov­ing un­der­ground util­i­ties, be­gin­ning mid-year.

The com­ple­tion date had yet to be con­firmed; the NZTA still had to buy some land be­fore the project could pro­ceed.

“It’s about safety, but it’s more than that. It’s also about com­mu­nity and eco­nomic devel­op­ment,” Ms Bleak­ley said.

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