Kaitoke to Te Marua realignment project opening
Hon Harry Duynhoven:
Address - Kaitoke to Te Marua realignment project opening ceremony
I would like to welcome you all today to the opening of the Kaitoke to Te Marua realignment project. My congratulations to the planners, designers, engineers and workers who have made this project a reality.
In my role as Minister for Transport Safety, I am pleased to be here to witness a project that has made a significant contribution to road safety on our state highway network.
Interestingly, prior to the start of construction, the existing hilly road had more than 100 accidents between 1997 and 2002. I have no doubt that the safe and efficient structure that this realignment project has produced will go a long way to reducing that road toll.
This project involved constructing a new 5.5km section of State Highway 2 between Kaitoke and Te Marua, just north of Upper Hutt. Construction began in October 2002. The new highway will be significantly safer than the previous hilly and winding road. It is straighter, wider and more consistent, has better passing opportunities and improved pullover areas for safer access to properties. A stock underpass has also been built beneath the road and a pedestrian underpass at the Kaitoke summit.
This section of SH2 is a significant transport route for those travelling between the Wairarapa and Wellington. It carries over 5,000 vehicles per day with the majority of these being commuters to Wellington City and tourists who like to visit the Wairarapa and its surrounding vineyards.
The pedestrian underpass was constructed in partnership with the Greater Wellington Regional Council and will provide safe access under the road for both pedestrians and cyclists.
Once the Regional Council has completed the tracks leading to this underpass, it will link the Kaitoke Regional Park to the Pakuratahi Forest Park, which contains the Rimutaka Rail Trail.
The project was first raised 30 years ago and was well-supported by local communities and authorities when the decision was made to construct it in 2002.
I know you will join me in congratulating all those involved over the years who have helped make this project a reality.
Once again, I am delighted to be able to join you today and thank you for the opportunity to address you.