The southern end of Stoney Creek Road provides access to Whakarongo School, which has a current roll of 530 students.
This section of the road required upgrading due to significant safety concerns associated with traffic backing up on to the State Highway 3, and motorists doing u-turns to get back on the highway. This has resulted in car crashes causing serious injuries due to the high-speed area.
The upgrade 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.
Construction on the $1.6 million project began in January, with a five-month construction period. Despite the national lockdown, the project has been delivered in five months with the Contractor Higgins shortening the project delivery period. NZTA contributed $510k towards the project.
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, it is vital this area is made safer for all road users and pedestrians.Mayor Grant Smith
He’s thanked the school for their support.
“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.”
Mayor Grant 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 Road.
“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.”