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A New Roundabout For Blenheim’s SH6/62 Rapaura Road Intersection

To improve road safety, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is installing a roundabout at the intersection of Rapaura Road (SH62) with State Highway 6 (SH6), north-west of Blenheim. (See map below)

This project is aligned to New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy, Road to Zero 2020 – 2030 and a programme of work delivering safety improvements on our highest risk intersections and roads across New Zealand.

“Through these safety improvements, Waka Kotahi aims to prevent the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads,” says Andrew James, System Manager Top of the South for Waka Kotahi.

Intersections can be dangerous places, with 17% of deaths and serious injuries occurring at rural intersections.

Roundabouts can reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured by up to 65%, because they slow people down and significantly reduce the chance of head-on and side crashes.

The roundabout will:

  • Be the same size as the Westwood Avenue Roundabout in Blenheim (where you turn to enter Pak n’ Save, Bunnings and KMart)
  • Have one lane
  • Have median separating islands as you approach it. Median islands on SH6 are primarily to separate the traffic and to channel drivers into the roundabout, aiming to slow speeds. The median islands on SH62 also have a gap to connect with the walking/cycling facilities either side of SH62 and the existing off-road path on the eastern side of SH6.

The project will also improve street lighting to make it safer at night and remove some of the plants to allow for the construction of the roundabout. New planting will be carried out within the roundabout and on the west side of SH6 to replace plants removed during construction. The cycle track on the east side of SH6 will remain in its current location and a new crossing of SH62 is proposed.

HEB Construction has been awarded the contract to build the roundabout. Construction is starting this month, November 2020, and is due to be completed mid-2021. Total cost (including construction, some property purchase, design and investigation), is expected to be close to $5million.

Site establishment will start from next week (9 November). Road users should expect some minor delays the following week (16 November) as the contractor prepares the temporary traffic management for stage one of the works with new traffic arrangements at the intersection and a lower speed limit.

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