Road users could be using parts of the State Highway 1 Edendale realignment as early as today if weather permits.
NZ Transport Agency senior project manager Jason Forbes said the plan was to divert road users on to the roundabout of the $14 million project.
“The switch to the roundabout will not be temporary,” Mr Forbes said.
“Once road users are using the roundabout they will keep using it until the whole alignment is open.”
If the weather does not allow for the change, it will begin operating early next week.
The 2.6km alignment, built by Fulton Hogan, is ahead of schedule and expected to be opened in December.
It was previously expected to be opened mid next year.
“There will be other works that the Fulton Hogan team will complete, but vehicles will be able to travel on the new alignment,” Mr Forbes said.
Good weather allowed the contractors to relocate most of the underground services and meant they had a clear run in the drier months to construct the main alignment, he said.
“A good team and management then saw the project run productively from there.”
Mr Forbes said service relocation, most of the pavement and road material construction, kerb work, the roundabout, lighting and fencing at the realignment were complete.
The first coat of seal for most of the roads was also complete.
Tying the present highway with the new alignment, installing safety barriers, sealing and marking were still being done.
A new access road into the Fonterra plant, in Edendale, had yet to be completed.
What was believed to be Southland’s largest concrete box culvert was installed as part of the project, Mr Forbes said.
It will carry the Oteramika Stream under the new alignment.
The alignment runs between Fonterra’s Edendale site and the site’s waste water treatment plant.
“This meant that there was a lot of underground services which needed to be relocated before the actual highway construction could start.
“While relocating services is not unique, the sheer number at this site is.”
fast progress of the work, which began last year.
“The project has gone very well and once opened will improve safety on this busy section of highway and reduce travel times between Gore and Invercargill.”