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Roundabout option preferred to improve Waitomo intersection

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Waitomo will have a new and much safer intersection in 2014 as the NZ Transport Agency has announced its preferred option for the SH3/37 intersection upgrade.

The turnoff to the Waitomo Caves, a popular destination for tourists, will be designed to be a three-legged roundabout, relocated 100 metres north of the existing SH3/37 intersection.

The Transport Agency has been working with the Waitomo District Council, Police, other road safety partners and the community to identify the best way to improve the intersection which was the site of two fatal crashes in 2012.

The turnoff to the Waitomo Caves, a popular destination for tourists, will be designed to be a three-legged roundabout, relocated 100 metres north of the existing SH3/37 intersection.  SH37 will be realigned to improve its link to the new SH3 intersection, and there will be a right-turn bay introduced on SH3 for Mangarino Road.

About 6500 vehicles per day pass the turnoff on SH3, 1300 a day use SH37 and 450 vehicles a day use Mangarino Road.

“At this stage our target is to commence construction next summer (2014/15)” says Principal Safety Engineer Michelle  Te Wharau, from the Transport Agency in Hamilton.

“We want to thank our partners and interested people who have been working with us. We know the public wanted us to go faster, but it is important to get the best solution and be sure that it will achieve the safety improvements we need at this location.”  says Mrs Te Wharau.

She says the interim safety improvements made following the second fatality last year will remain in place to manage speeds and help people navigate their way through these intersections.

“We’re committed to reducing the risk of crashes at this intersection as part of creating a safer transport system through safer roads and roadsides, safer use, safer vehicles and safer speeds.  We ask that motorists do their bit to particularly as we approach the busy summer holiday period by ensuring they travel at safe speeds, take extra care when turning, and remain alert for any unexpected vehicle movements.  We can all work together and share the responsibility of reducing harm on our roads,” says Mrs Te Wharau. 

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