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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

A temporary change has been made to the southbound access from State Highway 51 into Awatoto Road, for the safety of all road users, while a new roundabout is built.

The change means people heading towards Hastings who wish to turn right into Awatoto Road, will now travel slightly further south and make a right turn into Waitangi Road.

As crews get ready to build the new roundabout off to the side of the existing state highway, the north and southbound lanes have been temporarily realigned to enable traffic to flow unimpeded.

Crews monitoring the realignment this morning have noticed that a number of drivers turning right from SH51 into Awatoto Road were doing so unsafely, turning in front of oncoming traffic.

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi Project Manager Jacob Laird says the decision to temporarily restrict right-turn access into Awatoto Road and redirect people to Waitangi Road instead, makes the intersection safer for all road users while construction is underway.

“Safety for everyone using the road and for our crews is absolutely paramount. The last thing anyone wants is for someone to get injured while unsafely turning the corner.

“It’s really important that safety is number one when it comes to our traffic management too and that’s why our crews monitor traffic flows and adjust the traffic management accordingly – to ensure everyone driving through and working onsite remains safe and is able to get to where they’re going in the safest way possible.”

Roundabout construction

Work on the roundabout begins early in December and contractors are expecting to have the work completed by May 2024.

“It’s essential this stretch of road is made as safe as possible and we expect these changes will make the road safer for everyone using it,” says Mr Laird.

“Once the roundabout has been built and the road realigned to meet it, the existing road will be converted into reserve space, with native species to be planted between the highway and the existing rail-line.

Upcoming closure

Meanwhile, it’s a timely reminder of this weekend’s overnight closure for a stretch of SH51 southbound.

A signposted detour will be in place during two nights of upcoming closures on SH51.

A stretch of the southbound lane of the state highway between Awatoto Road and Farndon Road just north of Clive will be closed between 7pm and 5am Friday 15 December and Sunday 17 December. The road will be open on Saturday night.

The northbound lane, from Hastings to Napier, will remain open.

Crews will be sealing a section of the road between Waitangi Road and Waitangi Bridge, and then line marking it.

A map of the new SH51 roundabout and realignment.