Muldoon's $16m corner opens after three years

State Highway 2's infamous Muldoon's Corner is no longer "tight and to the right".

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges today joined the NZ Transport Agency and local dignitaries to mark the official opening of $16.5 million worth of safety improvements to the biggest kink in the Rimutaka Hill Road.

The project involved easing corners, widening and straightening out the road, installing guard rails and laying a new surface along a kilometre-long stretch.

Construction began on the Muldoon's Corner safety improvements in August 2009, after it was brought forward two and a half years by the Government's Jobs and Growth stimulus package. It was expected to be completed by the middle of this year.

NZTA State Highway Manager Rod James said it was pleasing to have the project completed on time and within budget.

"After two-and-a-half years of battling searing heat, horizontal rain, snow and 150km gales, we've got a safer, easier route for thousands of motorists to negotiate every day, and that's a tremendous achievement."

Mr James thanked motorists for their ongoing patience and understanding while the project developed from inception to fruition, during which time motorists navigated through constant roadworks and speed restrictions.

"This has been one of the most challenging work sites in the country, and I take my hat off to the team, who have done a splendid job."

One of the explanations for the name of Muldoon's Corner, 500 metres south of the summit, is that it stems from former prime minister Rob Muldoon.

The hill's sharpest corner was given the name in the 1970s after one of his famous "tight and to the right" budgets.

Contact Michael Forbes
Transport and metro reporter
Twitter: @michael_forbes