Work delayed at 'dangerous' Tirau intersection
Winter is halting excavation work on the long-awaited roundabout south of Tirau.
The New Zealand Transport Agency predicts a spring finish date as the deep excavations needed to complete the tie-ins require drier weather.
In the meantime, NZ Transport Agency acting highway manager Karen Boyt said contractors would continue installing services such as lighting, footpaths, fences and extensive planting for the roundabout, which would replace the notorious T-intersection nearby.
The two pin oaks planted in Tirau Reserve, to mark the visit there by the Queen on her 1953-54 tour, are being retained in the centre of the roundabout.
A 7-metre-high stone monolith will also be a feature of the new roundabout. The Hinuera stone will mark the entry and exit to Ngati Raukawa territory.
About 20,000 cubic metres of soil from the site have been used to re-contour the back part of the adjoining reserve and will help with proposed plans to install a walking track.
The idea came from the Tirau community and is being considered by the South Waikato District Council.
"The new roundabout will provide safe access to the reserve and is an important step in opening up the area for public use," Boyt said.
When State Highway 1 and SH5 connect to the roundabout, the council will use the old torn-up highway for other projects.
"This section of highway carries around 12,000 vehicles each day and is a key junction for traffic travelling to and from Rotorua or continuing along SH1," Boyt said.
And while construction continues, drivers are making do with cone-marked diversions.
At a district council community and assets meeting on May 29, councillor Anne Edmeades said the temporary lanes were not marked well enough.
"To drive that at night, I think you are very brave."
She said the marked routes were "quite dangerous" for those who did not know the road.
General manager assets Ted Anderson said he would chase up the complaint with contractors.
He said someone would be going out to the site every day to ensure the road cones were safely in place.