Anyone who had ever waited, waited and waited for traffic to clear so they could turn right from Matthews' Ave into North Road in Kaitaia would be delighted to hear that the government had allocated $922,000 from the national land transport fund for the construction of a roundabout.
So Mayor John Carter said yesterday.
A roundabout had been talked about "for years," he said, and he was delighted that it had now come "into focus." The intersection had long been a congestion point, and with funding announced earlier for roundabouts in Kawakawa and Waipapa, on state highways 1 and 10 respectively, he was gratified to see that significant roading issues in the Far North were now receiving attention.
The Kaitaia roundabout would be on SH1, so would be the NZTA's job, not the council's, with no cost to ratepayers, he added, and while there was no news yet of a timetable for construction, he hoped that a start would be made "pretty much immediately."
"We will be talking to the NZTA about a timetable," he said.
"We've had no discussions regarding the actual design of a roundabout, or how much land might be needed for it, but we will be wanting to see that it gets a high priority."
Meanwhile the council had some timetabling of its own to do following Monday's funding announcements by Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones (Minister comes bearing gifts, July 28), and a council workshop would be called within the next week or two to address a significantly expanded "to do" list.
"We already had a $67 million roading programme, plus carry-overs from last year, and now we have more roading and these other projects to get started," Carter said.
"We will be talking to the other councils, and various other agencies, about how all this work is going to be done, and when. There is certainly a lot to do."
The funding announced by Jones on Monday also included:
* $7 million for the Far North District Council to build a cycle trail and shared path linking Ahipara, Kaitaia and Awanui to Te Oneroa a Tohe (90 Mile Beach) and Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga);
* $1.8 million for Kaitaia-based social services provider Hē Korowai Trust to develop sites for 24 houses that will be relocated from Auckland;
* $1 million each for upgrading the wharves at Unahi and Pukenui;
* $986,710 for the Ngāti Kuri Trust Board to fence waterways and riparian planting;
* $1.1 million for Tapuwae Inc to fence stock out of waterways.