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Work starts on Waitomo roundabout in January


Work on a roundabout that is set to improve safety in the Waitomo district will start in January, the NZ Transport Agency says.

The three-legged roundabout will replace a T-intersection where State Highway 3 (SH3) meets State Highway 37 (SH37) - the gateway to the world-famous Waitomo Caves.

It will improve safety at the intersection, which has been the site of several serious crashes, including two fatal crashes in 2012.

The Transport Agency’s principal safety engineer Michelle Te Wharau says the new roundabout will be built about 60 metres north of the current intersection at a cost of around $3.6 million.

As part of the project, SH37 will be realigned to improve its link to the new SH3 intersection and a right-turn bay will be built on SH3 for Mangarino Road.

Mrs Te Wharau says the Transport Agency has been working  closely with the Waitomo District Council, police, other road safety partners and the community to identify the best way to improve the intersection.

The roundabout option was selected after public consultation and feedback last year and an investigation by Transport Agency traffic safety experts.

“We are delighted to be able to confirm that construction will be getting under way in late January and we would like to thank everyone involved for their input and their patience,” Mrs Te Wharau says.

“We know the public wanted us to go faster, but it was important to get the best solution so we can get the greatest safety improvements.”

Mrs Te Wharau says a roundabout is a more forgiving intersection if people made mistakes.

“It is also easier for road users to navigate smoothly through and find their turn off,” she says.

“We're committed to reducing the risk of crashes at this intersection however we  would also ask that motorists do their bit too, by ensuring they travel at safe speeds, take extra care when turning, and remain alert for any unexpected vehicle movements."

A temporary 70km/h speed reduction that was introduced in September 2012 will remain in place until the project is completed in May 2015.

To find out more about the project and to keep up to date with the construction click here(external link).

For more information please contact:

Natalie Dixon
Waikato / Bay of Plenty Media Manager

T: 07 928 7908
M: 021 928 413