Progress made on dangerous crossing

By Victoria White

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Repairs on the Hawke's Bay Expressway-Meeanee Quay intersection will hopefully be started before Christmas, says Napier mayor Bill Dalton. Photo / Warren Buckland
Repairs on the Hawke's Bay Expressway-Meeanee Quay intersection will hopefully be started before Christmas, says Napier mayor Bill Dalton. Photo / Warren Buckland

Progress is being made on the multi-million-dollar redevelopment of New Zealand's fifth most dangerous intersection.

This week Napier mayor Bill Dalton was among those who met to discuss how something could be done "urgently" about the Hawke's Bay Expressway-Meeanee Quay intersection.

He said the meeting had a positive outcome and they had "made real progress".

Mr Dalton could not elaborate on what the progress was as they would be going to the New Zealand Transport Agency to discuss it soon.

"We're very hopeful. Everyone is concerned with getting the process through by the end of September."

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule, Airport Company chairman Tony Porter, and chief executive Nick Story also attended the meeting to discuss how to get repairs under way as soon as possible.

Mr Dalton said resource consents could take a long time.

But he said: "If we get everybody to agree before we go for the application, so that it's just a formality, it will speed up the process."

The current intersection layout mixes traffic from the expressway, and the airport with a high volume to and from Napier Port. The alternative option is a roundabout at the intersection, and a new airport entrance off Watchman Rd, west of the intersection.

When asked how long they had been working towards the repairs, Mr Dalton said they had been asking "for some years now".

He said the transport agency was under huge pressure, and had to prove intersections were dangerous, as the intersection had proved to be, before they could be moved up the priority list.

Mr Yule said everyone involved was working hard to get construction started before Christmas.

They were also working to keep costs below a certain threshold to keep the project within the proposed timefame.

"We need to fix it [the intersection] and NZTA has done a great job to bring it together."

Mr Story said the Airport Company was very supportive of the plans to construct a new roundabout to improve road safety. "The current main entrance to the airport is also perceived to be dangerous with a number of 'near misses' observed.

"Therefore, a new main entrance to the airport will also address the road safety concerns associated with our current entrance."

He said the company had been involved in the discussion for more than a couple of years.

"It has been great to observe a significant increase in project momentum over recent months and we are looking forward to significant road safety enhancements once the project is complete."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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