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Swain turns first sod on Kaitoke Hill Project

Swain turns first sod on Kaitoke Hill Project

Transport Minister and MP for Rimutaka Paul Swain turned the first sod on the State Highway 2 realignment project between Kaitoke and Te Marua this morning.

The $14.2 million project, which will re-align a 5.5 km stretch of road over the Kaitoke Hill in the foothills of the Rimutakas, is expected to take about 20 months.

“This stretch of road has been the scene of more than 100 crashes in the last five years, said Mr Swain. “That’s too many.

“This project will bring major safety gains. There will be better passing opportunities, pull-over areas for safer access to properties and a new 40 metre-long bridge.

“The improvements will be especially appreciated by the increasing number of people who use this stretch of road twice a day to commute to work between Wairarapa and Wellington,” said Mr Swain. “More than 1,000 Wairarapa residents commute by road to work in the Wellington region. This has gone up by almost half (48.3%) since 1996.

“Because the road is on the site of what was once as thriving railway settlement, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust will be involved in the project to ensure the preservation of any historic artefacts that may be found.

“The project will also involve a tree-planting programme around the road and efforts will be made to re-generate the native forest around the old road,” said Mr Swain.

“I look forward to the completion of this project in spring 2004.”

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