Northern corridor improvements
The northern access to Taupō town centre will undergo a number of improvements, including the installation of traffic signals at the intersection of Norman Smith Street and Wairakei Drive.
Improving safety, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists, was the main driver for the decision that will also see traffic calming measures implemented, minor changes to the Poihipi Road and Wairakei Drive intersection, and to complete the widening of the shared path on Control Gates Hill.
While not expected to solve all the congestion issues, particularly during busy holiday and event times, the work is expected to help improve travel times for those travelling from the north into the central business district.
The design work was completed following an expert engineers’ report on solutions and consultation with the community as part of the Long-term Plan process. A sum of $717,000 was allocated to the project in the Long-term Plan, and this was followed by an additional $233,000 approved to complete the full project once the full scope of the work was known.
Norman Smith Street and Wairakei Drive intersection plan
The traffic signal design would use the latest technology and would include a ‘resting green phase’ to keep traffic flowing on Wairakei Drive when there was no waiting traffic on Norman Smith Street.
There would also be two right turning lanes on to Wairakei Drive from Norman Smith Street and signals to stop traffic for waiting cyclists and pedestrians. There would also be access improvements for those using Pois Road off Wairakei Drive to access the river.
Project phases and timeline
The project is scheduled to start in early May. Most of the work will be done between 6pm and 6am and the noisy work will be scheduled for early evening, to minimise the affect on residents and keep our contractors safe.
We hope to have the work completed within 10 weeks, weather permitting.
The first phase of the project is nearing completion, with the gateway into town on Wairakei Drive sporting a new look.
The northern end of the passing lane which currently runs up Control Gates Hill has now closed to allow work on the Huka Falls Road intersection.
The partial passing lane closure will mean vehicles travelling north on Wairakei Drive from the Norman Smith Street intersection will have less time to pass uphill traffic and get back into the left lane in the new 50kmh zone. The closure will allow contractors to safely complete the minor alterations and improvements around the Huka Falls Road intersection.
Currently contractors are working in daylight hours on both the gateway and the Huka Falls Road intersection. Most of the other three phases will be completed at night.