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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is tendering for new highway pull-over areas in the South Island’s Mackenzie Basin alongside improvements to existing stopping places. This project, which combines safety with enhancing the visitor driver experience, is being funded through the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme, with a $5 million budget overall.

NZ Upgrade Programme – Regional Package

The pull-over areas are on SH8 (Timaru to Burkes Pass, Lake Tekapo and the hydro lakes), SH79 (Rangitata/Geraldine to Fairlie) and SH80 (the Mt Cook/ Aoraki highway alongside Lake Pukaki). (See map below)

Around 30 locations along these three state highways will benefit from safety and access improvements. These include increasing capacity and upgrading of existing rest areas, new rest areas at scenic locations, better signage, directional arrows, safety information, intersection improvements, road widening and passing opportunities.

Some of the larger works, identified as having the greatest potential for safety and access improvements, are being tendered to shortlisted candidates, to ensure economy of cost, scale and for efficiency. The tenders close mid-December with successful construction companies expected to be announced soon after.

These include:

  • The Pukaki Package: Pukaki rest area and salmon farm right turn bays, Lake Ruataniwha access improvements and Haymans Road carpark extension
  • The Tekapo Package: Godley Peaks Road right turn bay and Braemar Road intersection improvements
  • The Burkes Package: Mt Burgess and Burkes Pass seal widening pull-off areas
  • The Mt Michael Package: Mt Michael Road curve realignment and right turn bay.

Smaller scale improvements are being undertaken by the Waka Kotahi South Canterbury highway maintenance team, in addition to their current programme.

“The Mackenzie Basin pull-over areas project will help to accommodate visitor drivers on these popular  inland state highways by creating safe places to pull over, safer access points and facilities for sharing the road with local drivers, freight and cyclists,” says Waka Kotahi Portfolio Manager Colin MacKay.

“Self-driving tourism is a growing industry which now includes more Kiwis due to overseas travel restrictions. Creating safe areas to pull over and appreciate the Mackenzie Basin’s world-renowned alpine and lake vistas will improve the visitor driver experience and benefit the regional economy.”

Mackenzie Mayor Graham Smith is also pleased at the new pull-over areas and other safety work getting funding.

“Myself and the Mackenzie District Council are grateful that Waka Kotahi has recognised the need to improve our roading, particularly in pull-over areas and intersections on our state highways as we anticipate seeing an increase of visitors to the area,” says Mayor Smith.

“We agree and endorse that safety is a top priority when it comes to Mackenzie roads, and we support Waka Kotahi in their plans and initiatives with respect to same.”

The project is expected to employ around 15 local people during construction.

“The full list of works is subject to change until around February 2021, when we expect final confirmation of pricing,” says Mr MacKay.

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