The first half of the Whakatū Arterial Link has been opened, marking the beginning of the end of the two-year project.

Hastings District Councillor Kevin Watkins, who chairs the works and services committee, said it was exciting to see the first half of the Whakatū Arterial Link open and being used.

"To see traffic travelling down half of that new road today is a really exciting milestone."

He had taken a trip along it, and said it was good to see everything running smoothly.

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"It's all signposted very well and the traffic is flowing smoothly."

"It just looks pretty good."

He was looking forward to seeing the full road opened in December.

"That will be a momentous day for a huge project and everybody will be pretty excited about that."

The first half of the Whakatū Arterial Link is now open, with access to Ruahāpia Rd from Pākōwhai Rd permanently closing.

People travelling between State Highway 2 and Pākōwhai Rd will access Whakatū Rd using the new Pākōwhai Rd roundabout.

The full road will be opened in December, with the Ruahāpia railway crossing permanently closed to traffic, although pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to access it.

It is a project that has been two years in the making, with work beginning in January 2017.

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The new road in 3.5km long, connecting Pākōwhai Rd with State Highway 2 at Mangateretere and comprises of three roundabouts and a bridge over Karamu Stream.

The aim of the road is to move produce more effectively from orchards to processing facilities and then on to export links.

It will also reduce congestion on Ruahāpia Rd, and the amount of heavy traffic on residential roads in Whakatū, with the aim of making it safer for families in the area.