Minister welcomes next phase of safety improvements for Hawke’s Bay Expressway

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has welcomed confirmation that the NZ Transport Agency will start work this September on the next phase of a $36 million programme of improvements aimed at reducing crashes and preventing deaths and serious injuries on the Hawke’s Bay Expressway between Bay View and Pakipaki.

Phil Twyford said the expressway is a vital stretch of road for the region providing an important link to both Hawke’s Bay Airport and the Port of Napier, and more will be done to make it safer. Between 2008 and 2017, 10 people were killed and 46 were seriously injured in crashes on this road.

“We know that everyone makes mistakes while driving, and these safety improvements are designed to ensure that those simple mistakes don’t cost lives,” Phil Twyford said.

Safety improvements already under construction as part of the programme include the Watchman Road project by the Hawke’s Bay Airport and the Pakowhai Road and Links Road project. Both are making good progress and drivers will be enjoying the safety benefits from spring this year.

“From September, the NZ Transport Agency will start work on a range of additional simple but effective safety improvements that will make driving safer and reduce the risk of crashes,” Phil Twyford said.

Safety improvements planned for the Hawke’s Bay Expressway include:

  • Installing flexible wire-rope safety barriers along the side and the centre of the road. These barriers ‘catch’ vehicles that leave the lane, preventing potentially deadly collisions with poles, trees, or oncoming vehicles.
  • Widening road shoulders. These will give drivers more room to recover if they lose control.
  • Providing a southbound passing lane between Bayview and the Airport.

Most of the safety works included in the programme are scheduled to be completed by December 2019.

Planned improvements are still being finalised for SH2 between Longlands to Pakipaki, and the Transport Agency will be asking the community for their views on how the road could be made safer. Phil Twyford said construction on that section will likely be completed in 2020.