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‘No looking back’ as Hihitahi Bluffs contract let

Wanganui Regional Office
Media Release
9 August 2004

‘No looking back’ as Hihitahi Bluffs contract let

“There’s no looking back now,” said Transit New Zealand regional manager Errol Christiansen in announcing that a construction contract had been let for the Hihitahi Bluffs Realignment project on State Highway 1 south of Waiouru.

“I’m delighted we can get construction started and leave behind the uncertainty that surrounded this project for a number of years.”

Mr Christiansen said the $15.8 million contract was awarded to HEB Contractors of Drury, near Auckland. Physical works would begin in October and take two and a half to three years.

“The first task will be to clear and establish the site, and major earthworks for the new alignment will get underway during the upcoming summer construction season,” Mr Christiansen said.

He said the 3.5 kilometre Hihitahi Bluffs Realignment was one of the largest projects Transit had undertaken in the Manawatu-Wanganui region in recent years and included three new concrete bridges and a passing lane at the northern end. It would significantly improve safety on a stretch of road that is out of character with the rest of SH1 between Wellington and Taupo and has a significant crash history. Its high altitude and shadiness makes it prone to ice in winter and recent slips have encroached into the shoulder of the road.

“The project will help Transit deliver on its aim to provide a ‘no-surprises’ driving environment, and will bring great benefits for not only the local communities, but the wider travelling public which relies on this strategically important route.

“It’s a difficult job in a challenging environment, and later during construction there may be times when traffic will have to be temporarily diverted around parts of the worksite, particularly while the bridges are under construction. But Transit and the contractors will do all they can to ensure traffic is managed efficiently and disruption is kept to a minimum, and will keep road users up to date at all times.”

Mr Christiansen said more details would be available in about two months, once HEB had established a full construction programme. Liaison with landowners and directly affected parties will be undertaken within the next few weeks.


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