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Sod-turning marks start of SH57 realignment

20 April 2005

Sod-turning marks start of SH57 realignment

Transit New Zealand is today celebrating the start of construction of the Tennent Drive/Old West Road Realignment near Palmerston North.

The $3 million project will significantly improve safety on a two-kilometre stretch of State Highway 57 near Massey University.

Transit regional manager Errol Christiansen was joined by Palmerston North MP Hon Steve Maharey and Horizons Regional Council Chairperson Garry Murfitt in ‘turning the first sod’ on site this morning.

The existing highway is narrow and poorly aligned. There have been 30 crashes on the route in the last five years, two of them serious.

Mr Christiansen said the $3 million project involves realigning Tennent Drive, raising and straightening Old West Road, and constructing a new intersection to replace the current junction of Tennent Drive, Old West Road and Kahuterewa Road.

“This section of SH57 is popular with cyclists, runners and pedestrians. The road is only eight metres wide, and although this is sufficient for two lanes of traffic there is minimal road shoulder for cyclists and pedestrians. There are also three intersections together, which results in a confusing layout. “The new road will be 10-metres wide so there will be much more room for cyclists and pedestrians to use the road safely. The new T - intersection will be in line with the latest standards for state highway intersections and motorists will find it much easier to navigate.”

Mr Christiansen said Transit was grateful for the cooperation and assistance of local residents and landowners, Horizons Regional Council, and in particular Palmerston North City Council and the Fitzherbert Community Board in progressing this project. Contractor Stringfellows Ltd will begin fencing and surveying the site within the next week and earthworks will be get underway in May, weather permitting. Most of the initial work will be off the existing highway to avoid disruption to traffic.

“Transit will work closely with the contractor and project consultant GHD Ltd to make sure motorists and local residents are kept up to date with progress on the project and any affect it will have on traffic flows and access.” Construction is expected to be completed about August 2006.

ENDS

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