Road works at Loop Road will pause this month as Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency awaits confirmation of the preferred corridor for the Whangārei to Port Marsden Highway four-lane upgrade later this year.
Construction of the single lane roundabout, extension of the northbound passing lane and safety improvements to the Portland Road and Otaika Valley Road intersections are on track to be completed in the coming weeks.
Waka Kotahi National Manager Infrastructure Delivery Andy Thackwray says additional design time is required prior to constructing the proposed two-lane bridge for the Loop Road project to ensure the design and location of the bridge can be incorporated into the four-lane upgrade.
“It’s important that we take the time now to get the design right. While pausing construction now may result in a short delay in providing a dual lane roundabout for road users, it significantly reduces the risk of needing to undertake disruptive re-work on the corridor in the future,” Mr Thackwray says.
While the dual lane roundabout at Loop Road is a key connection for the four-lane upgrade of State Highway 1, the road alignment south of the roundabout is still to be determined.
“The Loop Road intersection will continue to operate as a single lane roundabout until a bridge over Otaika Stream is constructed to take the additional lane. We are asking for people to continue to be patient through the site area,” says Mr Thackwray.
“Safety is our top priority and the distance between the roundabout and the current bridge is too short for two lanes of southbound traffic to safely merge into a single lane.”
Once works are completed, temporary safety barriers and road cones will be removed and the posted speed limit through the area will be lifted to 60km/hr.
Design and construction of the southbound lanes and new bridge for Loop Road will recommence once the preferred corridor for the Whangārei to Port Marsden Highway is confirmed later this year.
Construction of the Whangārei to Port Marsden Highway project is programmed to commence in late-2023/early-2024.