All go to improve Hawke's Bay roads

By Victoria White

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Now a variation had been added to the Regional Land Transport Plan, Transport Committee Chairman Alan Dick said it was "all go". PHOTO/FILE
Now a variation had been added to the Regional Land Transport Plan, Transport Committee Chairman Alan Dick said it was "all go". PHOTO/FILE

The final tick has been given to improve the safety of Hawke's Bay roads, as part of a multi-million-dollar project.

As one of the first actions of Matariki, the Hawke's Bay Economic Development Strategy, in July Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced a $25 million package of three road access improvements to Napier port.

This included improvements to intersections at Hyderabad Road/Prebensen Drive, the State Highway 50/SH2 Expressway, and upgrading the Watchman Rd intersection between Hawke's Bay Airport and Meeanee Quay.

On Friday a Regional Transport Subcommittee agreed to add a variation to the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2015-2025 to include the improvements to the Hawke's Bay expressway.

They would be part of a package of work of up to $12 million between Pakipaki and the intersection with Watchman Rd.

The subcommittee was made of Hawke's Bay Regional Council Transport Committee Chairman Alan Dick, representatives of Napier City, and Hastings District Council's and the NZ Transport Agency.

They agreed to add the variation provided NZTA undertook a number of actions including consulting with key stakeholders, such as police, as part of the detailed design of the improvements.

"Overall it's all go for the [$25] million of additional crown funding," Mr Dick said yesterday.

Subject to NZTA completing its recommendations, Mr Dick said designing, and building the improvements could proceed.

This would consist of targeted seal widening, roadside and median barriers and slip lanes or extensions to merge lanes at the Evenden Rd, Omahu Rd and Prebensen Drive roundabouts.

Other aspects of the multi-million-dollar package - such as bigger passing lanes to Bayview, or intersections near Hyderabad, and the Airport - were approved without the need to consult, Mr Dick said.

However as proposals relating to the Hawke's Bay Expressway were not included in the RLTP and constituted a significant variation to it, a public consultation process was held with submissions heard on Friday.

Of the 10 received, most supported the variation. Although several spoke of alternative routes - such as more cost-efficient improvements, and other areas in need of upgrade - Mr Dick said the overall tone of submissions had been positive.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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