The intersection with State Highway 51 where a Napier Boys' High School student was struck by a train just three weeks ago, is to get safety improvements as part of a three-year $376 million investment in Hawke's Bay state highways.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency director of regional relationships Linda Stewart said the investment in the region announced today was a 16 per cent increase on the previous three-yearly National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).
Most of the money - $214m - has been earmarked for maintenance and operations costs, but safety improvements were a top priority, she said.
"More than $53 million will be invested in programmes and projects in Hawke's Bay that will help save lives.
"Our focus is on making improvements in the Napier to Hastings urban areas, SH2 between Napier and Waipukurau and high-risk rural roads."
This includes improving parts of SH2 from Pakipaki and Waipukurau, SH51 from Napier to Hastings, Clive and between Waipatu and Whakatu, and improvements to SH5.
Improvements along the notorious Napier-Taupō Rd, where a spike in deaths and serious injuries along the route prompted a business case to better plan maintenance, will include median widening and barriers from Esk Valley to the Hawke's Bay boundary.
More improvements are expected from 2024.
Safety improvements will also be completed on SH51 from Ellison St to Farndon Rd.
The programme also notes a number of planned speed reviews for the region, including a proposal to lower the speed limit on SH5 to 80km/h, with Waka Kotahi still working through the 2000-plus submissions relating to these as at last month.
"Should our final decision be to proceed with speed limit changes on these state highways, we expect to introduce any changes by the end of this year."
Stewart said the changes would also help make roads more reliable, which was essential for the region's economy.
"Investment through the NLTP will contribute to a land transport system for the Hawke's Bay that will be safer and easier for people to use, effectively support the region's economy and keep communities connected."
Design work is under way for an upgrade of the SH2 Prebensen Dr/Hyderabad Rd intersection including road reconfiguration and cycle path connection, which will be completed this year.
The Napier Port Access business case and new Weigh Right facility will also improve safe access to the port.
$18m has been set aside for cycling and walking projects across the region, including a cycle path between Waipawa and Waipukurau.
Hawke's Bay Regional councillor and chairman of the regional transport committee Martin Williams said $17m in public transport investment was "good news", especially for the development of council's "on demand" transport system.
The new system will be "more efficient and useful", he said.
However, Williams felt the investment in the region was comparatively low and he would have liked to see funding approved for a multi-nodal expansion of the "under pressure" expressway between Napier and Hastings.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst agreed it was "a start" to making highways safer, especially SH5.
"It is also pleasing that Waka Kotahi has increased its level of funding towards the maintenance of our local roads.
"It is a step in the right direction to ensure that there are adequate funds to maintain our roads into the future."
Additional improvements include SH2 between Napier and Wairoa, where 600m of the road is being moved away from the Mohaka River as it is undermining the Raupunga Bluff.
Investigations are also under way to realign SH2 at Waikare Gorge to reduce flooding risk and undermining of the road. It will also improve reliability of access for communities in the north of the region.
Other projects include widening Tahaenui Bridge, the last single-lane bridge between Napier and Gisborne, to be two-laned, and increased passing opportunities along SH2.
SH38 to Lake Waikaremoana will also undergo work to improve safety for tourists.
Full details of the National Land Transport Programme can be found at: