Drivers are being advised by the NZ Transport Agency that there will be changes to the layout of Taupaki Road later this month as part of the safety upgrade of the intersection of SH16 and Taupaki and Old North Roads near Kumeu, west Auckland.
The existing stop and give way intersection is being replaced by a two-lane roundabout. The project will cost $4.5m
Construction of the new alignment of Taupaki Road is well advanced ahead of the planned diversion, says the NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker.
“People need to be aware for their own safety and the safety of workers involved in the upgrade that there will be new driving conditions,” Mr Parker adds.
The NZTA will use electronic roadside messages and other signage to alert drivers to the layout changes.
Storm water pipes have been laid and power and gas services shifted at the intersection, and work is about to begin relocating telecommunications links. A new access for Allely House is substantially completed.
Mr Parker says however, extremely wet weather did slow progress during winter.
“The construction season is well underway again, and we plan to have the improvements ready early in the New Year,” he says. “Our original target was December, but we have had no control over the rain and mud in the past couple of months.”
The intersection upgrade is part of a series of NZTA works to improve the safety and reliability of SH16 as a regional route. The programme includes better lighting along the highway and improvements to the intersection of SH16 and Muriwai Road.
The roundabout will smooth the flow of traffic and eliminate the long wait motorists often face in Taupaki and Old North Roads. Most of the crashes at the intersection over the past nine years involve vehicles turning right into SH16 from the side roads. Mr Parker says 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 project also includes dedicated walking and cycling facilities at the intersection, and bus stops in both directions on SH16.
“There will be benefits for everyone in the community when the safety upgrade is finished,” says Mr Parker.