A safer section of Stoney Creek Rd is now open for use, marking the finish of the first major construction project to be completed in the city since the Covid-19 lockdown.

Construction on the $1.6 million project began in January, earmarked for completion in five months.

Despite the national lockdown, the project has been delivered within the five months with the contractor Higgins shortening the project delivery period.

NZ Transport Agency contributed $510,000 towards the project.

The southern end of Stoney Creek Rd provides access to 530 students at Whakarongo School.

Safety concerns from car crashes causing serious injuries due to the high-speed area required this section of the road to be upgraded.


Traffic backing up on to the State Highway 3 and motorists doing u-turns to get back on to the highway were also factors in the upgrade.

It involved the creation of a new section of road next to the current one.

The old road was formed into a slip lane, where people can pull off the main highway and park, allowing students to access the school more safely.

Mayor Grant Smith says the road will keep students and other road users safe.

"This work was vital to keep the students safe, but also because the wider Whakarongo suburb is one of the city's fastest-growing areas.

"With more housing planned for the area it is vital this area is made safer for all road users and pedestrians.

"The staff, students and parents of Whakarongo School have been incredible to work with during this project.

"They've understood what a huge impact this project will have on their safety and as a result been very patient and understanding during construction.

"We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the opening with them."

Palmerston North City Council chief executive Heather Shotter says it's been great to see one of the big projects completed after Covid-19.

"Having to halt some of our biggest construction projects has been as frustrating for us as it has been for our contractors and those most closely impacted by the work.

"It is great to see this project complete and is a sign that our city is well and truly in recovery mode."

Smith says the next step is working closely with the Transport Agency to get the speed limits changed in the area and advance further safety improvements at other junctions on SH3 Napier Rd.

"The state highway that runs through Whakarongo is just too dangerous and will continue to be a problem as the area grows.


"It is heartbreaking to hear news of constant crashes happening on this stretch of road.

"I'll be continuing to press the Transport Agency to announce additional safety and intersection improvements, including reductions in speed limits for this stretch of road, to ensure our residents and visitors are as safe as possible on our city's roads."