Safety improvements start on key route into Rotorua

  • Hon Julie Anne Genter

“It’s fantastic to have shovels in the ground to upgrade the SH5/SH36 roundabout and the get work underway on the first section of the SH5 Tarukenga to Ngongotahā safety improvements this week,” said Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter, while visiting the site earlier today.

“These safety improvements will not only make this stretch of road safer for those who use it, they will help address community concerns about the SH5/SH36 roundabout,” says Julie Anne Genter.

The highway safety improvements – such as widening the road to accommodate a new wide centreline, median and roadside barriers, rumble strips and shortening the existing passing lane – will cover over 8km from near Tarukenga to the SH5/SH36 roundabout

Roundabout improvements include an additional lane around the roundabout, as well as on all approaches to provide a safer and more efficient intersection.

“All drivers make mistakes from time to time - safety improvements like these stop simple mistakes turning into tragedies.

“A momentary loss of concentration could result in a serious crash, so the new barriers and rumble strips will be a big help.

$14 million is being contributed from the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme to improve safety along SH5 and reduce congestion at the SH5/SH36 roundabout. This is in addition to the $1 million provided by Waka Kotahi through its Safe Network Programme for the design of the safety improvements. 

“This road is an important tourism route, forming part of the Thermal Explorer Highway linking Rotorua with the Hawkes Bay, Lake Taupo, Ruapehu and Hamilton.

“Most fatal and serious crashes are preventable.

“This work, as part of our Safe Network Programme will help us prevent future serious crashes and help make our roads, vehicles, speed limits and drivers safer,” said Julie Anne Genter.

The Safe Network Programme is a $1.4 billion, three-year initiative to make

870 kilometres of New Zealand’s highest risk, high traffic State Highways safer by 2021 with improvements like median and side barriers, rumble strips, and shoulder widening.

Between 2015 and 2019 there were two deaths, four serious injuries and 23 minor injuries resulting from crashes on this stretch of road most caused by vehicles running off the road or head-on collisions. There has also been one fatality has been recorded this year.

The project is expected to take 12 months to complete.