A blessing at first light this morning [Thursday, 7 October] led by local iwi marked the formal completion of the first stage of NZ Transport Agency's improvements to State Highway 1 in Warkworth.
The upgrade at the intersections of Woodcocks and Whitaker Roads will provide safer and easier access for Warkworth residents across their community, and improve highway travel between Auckland and Northland and to the eastern beaches.
The project was blessed by Ngati Whatua Nga Rima o Kaipara and Ngati Manuhiri at the dawn ceremony attended by Rodney Mayor Penny Webster, the NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland, Wayne McDonald, the NZTA’s project partners [HEB Construction and Opus], and local stakeholders and residents. A kowhai tree, symbolic of Warkworth’s position as the centre of the district’s Kowhai Coast, was planted by guests in the grounds of Mahurangi College.
The improvements, involving both the NZTA and Rodney District Council, include new traffic signals at the two intersections, widening the state highway, changes to the road layout, and safer access for walkers and cyclists. The project also included the relocation of water, sewerage and communication services and undergrounding power lines
The NZTA acknowledged the support of Warkworth for a project that had faced a number of construction challenges and wet winters.
“We are aware of the impact that this project has had on the community and we want to thank you for your patience and co-operation while we have worked to complete the highway improvements and upgrade the services for your council,” says Mr McDonald.
Mayor Penny Webster thanked the NZTA and its contractors for improvements that benefit Warkworth and local distance travellers.
”As we, as a council, come to the end of our time, it is fitting that it should coincide with the end of one of the more ambitious and challenging roading projects in our district,” she says. “To the NZ Transport Agency, its contractors and sub-contractors, our thanks for the improvements to the Woodcocks and Whitaker intersections and for the underground services.”
The NZTA is due to start work on the next two stages of the Warkworth Improvements – upgrades of the Hudson Road and Hill Street intersections – in autumn next year.
“It makes sense that when some outstanding issues regarding both these upgrades are resolved that the two stages are then developed as one,” says Mr McDonald. “Both Warkworth itself and traffic volumes are growing, and the NZTA remains committed to the next stage of improvements.’
For more information on the SH1 Warkworth improvements please visit www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/warkworth(external link)