Piarere safety improvements started

Taupō MP Louise Upston is urging locals a petition in support planned work on the Waikato Expressway.

Work to make SH1 between Cambridge and Piarere safer got underway last week.

The safety improvements include adding roadside safety barriers in high-risk areas to stop vehicles running off the road and a wide centreline to keep vehicles apart. Minor improvements will also be made to some intersections along the route.

NZ Transport Agency Regional System Manager Karen Boyt said the safety improvements will help prevent people being killed or seriously injured in crashes on the route.

“This road is currently the main link between Auckland and Tauranga and Hamilton and Tauranga but too many people are losing their lives on the road,” Ms Boyt said.

“Between January 2005 and December 2014, nine people died and 29 were seriously injured on this stretch of the road. Safety barriers and wide centrelines are relatively easy to install but can be the difference between life and death if someone makes a mistake on the road.”

Turning right out of Karapiro Rd towards Cambridge can be a hair-raising experience.

The short-term safety improvements will be carried out by Splice Construction on behalf of the Transport Agency and are expected to be completed by the end of summer 2019.

The project is part of the government’s $600m Safe Roads and Roadsides programme underway to reduce deaths and seriously injuries on NZ rural state highways.

The future of the highly-anticipated strengthening of the link between Cambridge and the Bay of Plenty should become clearer later this month, with the release of the draft 2018 Government Policy Statement (GPS) on land transport which is expected to be released for consultation.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said that current roading projects are continuing as they did before the election, “however the final GPS is likely to include new priorities for transport investment throughout New Zealand, and this will influence the timing and funding required for work programmes to proceed.”

In January, local MP Louise Upston announced the launch of a petition to extend the Waikato Expressway south of Cambridge, expressing concern that the projects were “at risk of being canned by the new government”.

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