The realignment of State Highway 1 through Edendale will reduce travel times and improve safety for Southland’s No1 freight route, an Opus planner told the Edendale-Wyndham Community Board at its meeting this week.
The latest Edendale bypass plans were presented to the board on Tuesday night.
The New Zealand Transport Agency and Opus have been working on the bypass since the early 2000s.
Opus senior planner Luke McSoriley said the bypass would avoid the Edendale township and the Fonterra site. A two-lane roundabout would be installed at the south end of the bypass to allow Fonterra milk tankers access to the Fonterra site.
It was also a much safer way for the tankers to enter the highway, Mr McSoriley said.
“It will allow the highway to remain at 100kmh instead of the variable speeds, except for the roundabout, which will have an average speed of 25kmh.”
The bypass would allow traffic to travel at 100kmh instead of 50kmh.
A northbound passing lane beyond the roundabout would also be installed.
The new alignment will be more than 2km long, have about 4500 vehicles travelling on it a day and cost about $10 million to $15 million. The price includes design, land purchase from Fonterra and construction.
Mr McSoriley said they hoped to start the project in June 2017 and it would take about two to three years to complete.
New Zealand Transport Agency project manager Jason Forbes said the existing highway through Edendale would become local road.
The bypass would reduce the traffic past Edendale Primary School.
An underpass instead of a roundabout had been considered but the $20 million extra needed for it was not feasible.
“A roundabout is the way to go,” Mr Forbes said.
Edendale-Wyndham Community Board chairwoman Pam Yorke said the bypass would have a huge benefit in avoiding the Fonterra site. The existing highway had been shut down twice this year due to problems at the Fonterra plant. The bypass would allow traffic to keep flowing, she said.