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Sod turned for Ohingaiti-Makohine realignment

First sod turned for Ohingaiti-Makohine SH1 realignment

Transport Minister Annette King turned the first sod at Ohingaiti today on the $10.6 million Ohingaiti – Makohine SH1 realignment project, saying the project will greatly reduce the risk of vehicle crashes and totally eliminate the risk of collisions with trains at the Ohingaiti level crossing.

Last July Brent and Renee Coombes died tragically after their car collided with a train at the level crossing, and in recent weeks a two-truck collision left one man dead and another in hospital in another accident near Ohingaiti.

Ms King said the project, funded by the Government and being undertaken by Transit New Zealand, will significantly upgrade a 3.6km stretch of the vital and strategic SH1 transport route. The project is due to be completed in 2011.

"This project is the top priority for the Manawatu -Wanganui region, and is one of a number of regional safety initiatives the Government is putting in place as part of trying to reach its challenging target of no more than 300 road deaths by 2010, and no more than 200 by 2040.

"I am not surprised this has been the region's top priority. When this realignment and the level crossing overpass are completed, your community will be a much safer place in which to live and drive."

Ms King said engineering improvements such as this project only represented one aspect of the Government's commitment to improving road and rail safety. "In December last year we also unveiled new road safety initiatives targeting speedsters, young and novice drivers and those who persistently break the road rules. A rail safety strategy is also due for release this year."

The Ohingaiti-Makohine realignment project includes:

•Replacing the steep winding road on Makohine Hill with a straighter route

•An overpass to replace the Ohingaiti level crossing

•A three span bridge over the Makohine Stream

•Adding a new passing lane

•A new intersection with Onslow Rood at Ohingaiti


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