Safety improvements at the Taupaki Road roundabout on State Highway 16 near Kumeu in northwest Auckland are complete, and the improved intersection has been officially opened by the NZ Transport Agency.
The $4.5m two-lane roundabout replaces the stop and give way intersection of Taupaki and Old North Roads and SH16.
The NZTA and representatives from Auckland Council and local residents today [Wednesday, 9 March] celebrated the opening, which marks the end of a community campaign to have the intersection upgraded.
The NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker, says the upgrade will benefit both the community and drivers.
“We know that local residents have spent a decade campaigning for these improvements and we want to thank them for their ongoing support,” he says. “Constructing a roundabout smoothes the flow of traffic and should eliminate the reputation the intersection has had as a crash black spot.”
NZTA statistics report a total of 40 crashes at the intersection in the past five years – one of them involving a serious injury and 14 minor injuries. Most of the crashes involved right-turning traffic.
Mr Parker says the roundabout will eliminate the long wait drivers often face on Taupaki and Old North Roads.
The number of vehicles using SH16 at the intersection averages more than 20,000 a day and this is expected to grow as the region develops and the four-lane extension of the Northwestern Motorway to Brigham Creek Road is completed in 2012. The roundabout has been designed to cater for expected growth in the area and also includes a dedicated left turn lane from Taupaki Road.
The project started in May 2010. It also includes new footpaths and cycle lanes at the intersection. New bus stops and lighting in both directions on SH16 will make it safer for local schoolchildren to cross the highway.
The speed limit through the intersection will remain at 80km/h.
The NZTA worked closely with Auckland Council (previously Rodney District Council) so that a new water main could be installed during construction. Nearby Allely House restaurant was also given a new entrance.
The intersection upgrade is part of a series of work by the NZTA to improve the safety and reliability of SH16 as a regional route. The highway passes through the developing townships of Kumeu, Huapai, Waimauku and Helensville. The programme also includes new lighting along the highway which has recently been completed, and proposed roundabout improvements at the Muriwai Road intersection.