Construction of the Ruby Bay Bypass on SH60 in Tasman has officially begun, with the 'first sod' turned near Mapua yesterday.
The 10.7km route will avoid the Ruby Bay and Mapua townships and be a safer and more direct route than the existing highway.
NZ Transport Agency Regional Manager Graham Taylor says the start of construction is a positive event for the Tasman region as it fulfils a wish to provide a better route between Tasman and Nelson/Motueka.
“The local community has wanted to see this project built for some time and Tasman has supported the use of regional transport funding for this top priority project,” he says.
Mr Taylor says the Ruby Bay Bypass will create a new section of State Highway 60 inland from the existing road, returning the current coastal highway to a local road. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2011 and will largely be constructed away from the current state highway on former forestry land.
The start of construction was celebrated by members of the nearby communities, local landholders, representatives of Tasman District Council, iwi, local MP Hon Damien O'Connor and the NZ Transport Agency.