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Progress on Hemo Road intersection

3 July 2017

Progress on Hemo Road intersection

Work on the $8.1 million State Highway 5/State Highway 30 Hemo Road intersection improvements is now expected to be complete in October.

The work was scheduled to finish in the middle of this year but soft ground in some areas, significant rainfall in Autumn, and the discovery of part of Rotorua’s original water supply system last year have meant more time is needed.

NZ Transport Agency Regional Relationships Director, Parekawhia McLean, says some significant progress has been made.

“The crews have been working hard however the weather has not been on our side and there were also some areas of soft ground that we had to stabilize before being able to lay service pipes.”

Two colonial water tanks that date back to 1897 were also discovered on Old Taupo Road.

“We put a hold on works near the tanks last year while we worked through the discovery and got it added to the historical record.

“This work should add some valuable material for people studying colonial civic history in Rotorua,” Ms McLean says.

Work at the Hemo Road site will now focus on the roundabout formation over the three underpasses, formation of Mokoia Drive, construction of the State Highway 30 pavement, barriers and lighting, landscaping, line marking and signage.

The roundabout will boost safety at the high-risk intersection, provide cycle and pedestrian access and create a gateway to Rotorua.

A timeline for completion of the 12 metre roundabout sculpture that is to be installed is also expected to be finalised in July. The sculpture is being funded by the Transport Agency, Rotorua Lakes Council, Te Puia and there is also the potential for others to contribute.

More than $17 million worth of transport projects are underway in Rotorua including the Hemo roundabout, walking and cycling connections and safety work. Last year the Government also announced $24 million in funding to transform the central and eastern corridors in the Connect Rotorua project. The preferred options for both corridors are expected to be announced later this year.

Time-lapse videos showing progress at the site can be viewed here:


The concrete settling tanks

• The tanks have been recorded on the New Zealand Archaeological Association register and have been preserved below the ground.

• They were discovered in July 2016 near 451 Old Taupo Road.

• One is a rectangle structure measuring 2.3 metres by 3.6 metres with 28 cm thick concrete walls and the other is a trapezoid shape and is 21 metres long and up to 6.4 metres wide.

• Work near the tanks was put on hold for around two months while they were studied.

• Finding old water supply isn’t unusual in New Zealand but the tanks that are found are associated with goldmining sites rather than civic sites.

• The find offers a chance to understand the early water supply for Rotorua and assist in understanding how the tanks functioned.


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