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Construction to start this week on Bell Block

Tuesday 19 December 2006

Construction to start this week on Bell Block Bypass

The start of construction this week on the Bell Block bypass is a significant milestone for New Plymouth, Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven said today.

Mr Duynhoven will turn the first sod at the Bell Block site tomorrow.

“I have shared our community's passion and drive to bring this project to fruition.

"This Labour-led Government recognised how incredibly important this project is to our local community and in its 2006 Budget committed an unprecedented $13.4 billion – including $1.3 billion in new money – over the next five years to guarantee and accelerate New Zealand's largest ever road-building programme.
The increased funding meant that projects facing deferral, including Bell Block, were given the green light," Mr Duynhoven said.

Funding was approved for the $13.3 million project in September and construction begins this week in time to take advantage of the summer construction season.

“There has been strong growth in the Bell Block area and that is forecast to continue, particularly in the industrial area. The changes will make this road safer and enable vehicles to travel at 100kph/h uninterrupted, immediately after the 50kph zone on the northern outskirts of the city.

“This project will have a huge impact on local road users in the greater New Plymouth area and has national significance in terms of the gains to be made by freight vehicles travelling north from New Plymouth.

"The project was listed as Transit’s top priority in Taranaki this year and was one of three nationwide that dominated submissions for this year’s State Highway Forecast consultation.

"We are working with the New Plymouth District Council to integrate the local roading network with the upgraded section of highway. The aim is to manage safety issues for access roads in the rapidly developing residential and industrial areas beyond Bell Block, " said Mr Duynhoven today.

The project will see the construction of a bypass to the south of Bell Block township, east of New Plymouth, and the four-laning of SH3 from the base of Mangaone Hill through to Henwood Road.

Other projects planned for design and construction in the region over the next three years include:

- Whareroa Road Passing Lane, Tangahoe Bridge Widening and the Muggridge South Realignment projects, all on SH3 south of Hawera;
- Waitotara North Curve Improvements on SH3 south of Waverly;
- Safety improvements at the SH3 Mangorei Road intersection in New Plymouth/

Transit will also work alongside the Council with the investigation of the coastal cycleway between Bell Block and Fitzroy.

ENDS

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