The first sod has officially been turned on the $17 million transport project along State Highway 30/Te Ngae Road this morning.
Representatives from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Rotorua Lakes Council, local hapū and the community gathered at the Whakarewarewa Rugby Club at Puarenga Park to launch the Eastern Corridor Stage One project.
The project, from Sala Street to Iles Road, includes the upgrade of the Tarawera roundabout to a signalised intersection, operated by traffic lights, as well as improvements to the SH30/Sala Street intersection.
It also includes four-laning a section of the highway between Allen Mills and Iles roads, 3.5km of new shared paths, undergrounding the overhead powerlines, and installing new watermains on behalf of Council.
Transport Agency Acting Director Regional Relationships, Ross I’Anson, says the project will help make people’s daily journeys through Rotorua safer, and more enjoyable.
“Key intersections along this corridor will be much safer and easier to navigate, and more convenient routes for people on bikes and on foot will help encourage people to get out of their cars and onto alternative modes of transport.
“This project is also creating new recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities and building connections into other parts of Rotorua.
“We’re pleased to be working with our partners and with iwi to provide our communities with a safer, better, more sustainable transport network.”
Rotorua Mayor, Steve Chadwick, says improving the city’s eastern corridor is crucial to the district’s future.
“It’s very pleasing to see the first stage of work getting underway. Te Ngae Road is a critical transport corridor for both Rotorua and the wider region, and this work is also vitally important to help unlock the huge potential of our eastern suburbs.
“The overall programme of improvements will have a big impact on work we are undertaking to increase housing, improve safety and liveability of our communities and sustain and grow our economy,” says Mayor Chadwick.
Construction began after the launch and is expected to take about 18 months to complete.
During February and March, contractors will be focussed on constructing the new accessway for the rugby club at Puarenga Park.
Work will also be taking place between Sala Street and Hamiora Place to underground powerlines and install new watermains.
Traffic management will be set up throughout the work site between 7am-6pm on weekdays to ensure contractors are able to work safely and efficiently.
The majority of this work is expected to take place in the road shoulder and will have minimal impact on traffic.
For more information people can visit: www.nzta.govt.nz/eastern-corridor-stage1