The highly anticipated roundabout at the intersection of State Highway 1 and State Highway 29 in Piarere is set to move into construction.
A blessing of the site, held early Tuesday with local mana whenua – Ngaati Koroki Kahukura, Ngaati Hauaa Iwi Trust and Raukawa – signals the move into the construction phase.
Karaitiana Tamatea of Ngaati Koroki Kahukura says this is a special turning point, in relation to the physical and spiritual place where the Waikato River changed its original course for the new alternative route of State Highway 1, as well as getting this project underway.
“This is a spiritual journey as well as a physical journey and we want this to be a safe place for people to enter into our rohe (area),” says Mr Tamatea.
NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery for Waikato and Bay of Plenty, Jo Wilton, says it’s important to acknowledge those who came before us, and what is ahead during the construction period.
“We’ve worked very closely with Ngaati Koroki Kahukura, Ngaati Hauaa Iwi Trust and Raukawa representatives in the lead up to this project and the wider Cambridge to Piarere works.
“After a competitive tender process, we’re pleased to announce we will be working with Downer NZ to deliver this critical project.
“The community and road users have been calling for improvements at this intersection and we are pleased to be nearer to delivering this. This upgrade will be welcomed by many,” says Ms Wilton.
Mark Woodward, Downer Infrastructure Delivery Regional Manager says the team are thrilled to have been awarded the contract for this significant roading upgrade.
“The Downer team are looking forward to starting the major works for the new roundabout at SH1/SH29 at Piarere in early 2024 which will provide improved safety, reliability, and enhanced connectivity to motorists on this high-volume traffic route.”
With an average of 20,000 vehicles traveling through this intersection daily, it’s a vital link between Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, and onto the central and lower North Island.
Ms Wilton explained that a roundabout was the best option for a number of reasons.
“A roundabout will prevent deaths and serious injuries. They are a proven solution that save lives and reduce the risk of serious crashes. It will improve the traffic flow with 2-lanes and has been designed to allow for connection with a future expressway between Cambridge and Piarere,” says Ms Wilton.
Funded by the New Zealand Upgrade Programme which is providing growing communities across the country with more travel options to help people get where they’re going safely.
People can expect to see some initial survey works around the site ahead of Christmas and work will start in earnest from 8 January 2024.
L-R: Poto Davies, Karaitiana Tamatea (Ngaati Koroki Kahukura), Wina Taute (Raukawa) and Eugene Kara (Ngaati Koroki Kahukura artist)
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