Work starts on highway crash black spot

Work has begun to realign a stretch of road which is a well known black-spot.

A section of State Highway 33, halfway between Rotorua and Paengaroa, is being realigned in a bid to make it safer.

Diggers and bulldozers have already started moving material from the Pareteiro hillside to form the new road with construction currently being undertaken away from public view from SH33.

New Zealand Transport Agency Bay of Plenty state highways manager Brett Gliddon said this project would help to improve safety and reduce travel times along this section of SH33.

"The section of SH33 where the work is being undertaken is known as the Sun Valley Curves in the Pareteiro area and is a historic crash black spot.''

Mr Gliddon said the series of curves would be straightened which would benefit users of this road by improving safety, reducing travel times and will make the movement of freight to the Port of Tauranga more efficient.

Mr Gliddon said a passing lane would also be installed to enable motorists travelling towards Rotorua from Paengaroa to overtake safely.

A gully will be filled from material taken from the Pareteiro hillside which will help to form the new sweeping curves replacing the existing series of tight sharp curves.

Mr Gliddon said the work formed part of the NZTA's Safer Journeys strategy which adopted the world-leading Safe System approach in achieving safer roads and roadsides, safer speeds, safer vehicles and safer behaviours.

For the first several months works will be off the highway and drivers should expect only minor interruptions at times for machinery or deliveries to access the construction site.

As the project progressed, Mr Gliddon said there would be some interruption to travellers along SH33. The project is expected to be completed by March 2014.

"Drivers will be informed of the expected interruptions before they occur.''

In the meantime, Mr Gliddon said drivers needed to be cautious of machinery going to and from the construction site.

The project is estimated to cost $3.6 million and is being managed by Rotorua District Council as the NZTA's project partner for the Rotorua area.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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