Formalities have cleared the way for construction on a Whangārei intersection to get under way.

About 50 officials from the NZ Transport Agency, local councils and contractor Downer gathered at The Door of Hope Fellowship on Tarewa Rd yesterday for speeches and the ceremonial sod turn for improvements at the State Highway 1-Tarewa Rd intersection.

The planned roadworks include installing traffic lights at the intersection, adding double lanes for north and southbound traffic on SH1- including replacing the existing bridge - and a shared path under the new bridge and signalised pedestrian crossings to improve safety for those walking and biking.

NZTA also plans to create new left-hand turns into and out of SH1 and ban the right-hand turn out of Tarewa Rd, heading north.

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Right turns in and out of Tarewa Rd may be temporarily banned during construction but the agency plans to propose a bylaw amendment to permanently ban right turns out of Tarewa Rd as it will improve safety and avoid traffic congestion.

Submissions on the proposed bylaw amendment will be invited later in the year.

NZTA portfolio manager Stephen Collett said the work is estimated to be completed in early to mid-2020.

The project will cost about $17 million and is the last of six projects in the Whangārei Urban Improvements which stretch back to the extension of the Kamo bypass, completed in 2012.