Work begins next week to install clearways on Curletts Road (State Highway 73) to help reduce congestion and queuing between Main South Road and Blenheim Road during peak travel times.
The $1.6 million project will remove the built-out kerbs along both side of the 800m section of highway, install of a painted flush median which will allow traffic to turn right into and from side streets, and the construction along both sides of the highway of a new 2.5-metre wide shared cycle and pedestrian footpath.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Acting Highway Manager Pete Connors says the clearways will operate as traffic lanes during the morning (7am to 9am) and evening (4pm to 6pm) peak times, and revert to parking at all other times of the day.
Short-term permanent parking will continue to be provided on the eastern side of Curletts Road, outside the dairy and fish ‘n chip shop.
“Traffic volumes on Curletts Road have risen more than 30 per cent since the earthquakes, resulting in significant congestion along this section of State Highway 73 which is a critical commuter and freight route.
“Tidal flow lanes, where traffic cones are manually shifted twice a day to coincide with the peak times, has been operational for the last four years to support heavier traffic volumes while we waited for traffic volumes to settle down.
“Peak flows have stabilised and the heavier volumes remain constant, resulting in the need for four lanes along the highway during weekday peak flows.”
Mr Connors says the local community was consulted on a range of options to accommodate the growth in traffic volumes. “What we are implementing is the one favoured by the majority of the community because of the flexibility in accommodating local resident needs and providing enhanced safety for all road users.”
Motorists are warned to expect some additional delays while the work is being completed, with the three-lane tidal flow being maintained during peak times and only one side of the highway being worked on at any time to minimise disruption.
The clearways are expected to be operational at the end of May.
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