Work to improve safety for all those using State Highway 14 near Whangarei Hospital was given the green light this morning with local Kaumātua and partner agencies gathering at dawn to bless the site.
The NZ Transport Agency has been working with Northland DHB and Whangarei District Council on improvements that will include installing traffic lights at the intersection of State Highway 14 (Maunu Road) and Hospital Road, extending the cycle lanes and providing a painted median along the state highway.
The upgrade is part of a series of improvements to safety and efficiency on state highways through Whangarei. It builds on the recent upgrade to the intersection of State Highway 1 and State Highway 14. The creation of State Highway 15 on the inland freight route is also creating a freight bypass around Whangarei will also remove trucks from the city centre and away from the hospital entrance.
“As traffic volumes have grown it’s become increasingly difficult for people to turn out of Hospital Road and either left or right on the state highway,” says Northland Regional Director Ernst Zollner.
“As a very busy base hospital for the area these improvements will make it as safe and easy as possible for everyone travelling into and out of the hospital, including staff, visitors and patients.”
Northland DHB Chief Executive, Dr Nick Chamberlain says he’s thrilled to see the commencement of the project.
“The DHB had worked closely with the NZ Transport Agency to design and progress this vital improvement at the intersection of Hospital Road and State Highway 14.”
“We have been very concerned for the safety of our staff, patients and their whānau and visitors queuing at the intersection. We encourage everyone to be as patient and considerate as possible over the next few months until the project is complete.”
The improvements will also make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists by extending the existing cycle lanes a further 700 metres along the state highway to just past the Hospital Road. This will improve cycle connections between Maunu and the city.
Mayor Sheryl Mai said the numbers of all road users have increased in this area, pedestrians, drivers, motorbikes, visitors to the hospital, general traffic, and reflected the growth in the District.
“With growth comes growing pains, often in the form of road works. The period of disruption will be a bit frustrating but as we have all seen at the intersection of State Highway 1 and 14, it will be well worth it in the end. It is also great to see how we can all work together, the DHB, NZTA, and WDC, to generate good results for our District.”
A median will also be painted along the state highway from Hospital Road to Silverstream Road to make it safer for people coming into and out of their driveways.
The Transport Agency will start work next week with the upgrade expected to be finished in March next year.