The Northland Age

Three weeks of delays to fix 550m


Kerikeri motorists are likely to face three weeks of delays as a 550m section of the town’s crumbling main road is rebuilt.

From October 25 to November 18 traffic will only be able to use Kerikeri Rd to travel into town from State Highway 10.

Drivers wishing to leave town will have to use the Heritage Bypass and Waipapa Rd to reach SH10.

The 550m section of road being rebuilt almost from scratch is between the Old Packhouse Market and Maraenui Drive.

The $1.2 million project entails removing the existing tarmac, upgrading the road base, and applying a 200mm layer of hot mix (asphaltic concrete). The aim is to provide a surface requiring minimal maintenanc­e for the next 25 years.

At the same time a slip lane will be built to improve safety for pedestrian­s and traffic accessing the Old Packhouse Market.

That project will be privately funded by the market owners, but the two jobs will use the same contractor and take place at the same time to allow a seamless road connection and reduce disruption.

During constructi­on only one lane of Kerikeri Rd, for vehicles heading into town, will remain open.

Calvin Thomas, general manager for the Northland Transporta­tion Alliance, said other traffic management options were considered, including providing two-way access with stopgo signs or traffic lights.

However, that would have extended the constructi­on process and compromise­d the safety of road crews.

It could also lead to long queues backing up onto SH10.

“We know this work will create delays and frustratio­n, especially for drivers leaving Kerikeri and I apologise for that. However, with around 10,000 traffic movements on this road each day, we need to do all we can to avoid traffic queues disrupting SH10. This option also means we can complete the job as quickly and safely as possible, without compromisi­ng constructi­on quality.”

Thomas said Kerikeri has grown significan­tly since the current road surface was laid 25 years ago. Kerikeri Rd was now the busiest road in the Far North.

“Traffic volume and tonnage have increased dramatical­ly and as a result Kerikeri Rd has deteriorat­ed significan­tly in parts. This project marks the beginning of a 10-year staged renewal of Kerikeri Rd from the roundabout into town.”

Where possible, future road upgrades would be timed to coincide with housing and other developmen­ts planned along Kerikeri Rd, to avoid having to dig up sections of road twice.

People living and working in the roadworks area would have access with guidance from road crews.

Two-way traffic would be reinstated at night when road crews and machinery were not operating. The current road upgrade does not include the notoriousl­y potholepro­ne corner next to Access Rd, just downhill from the planned roadworks.

That is expected to be fixed at a later stage of the Kerikeri Rd renewal project.

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