“These upgrades will help ease congestion and improve journey predictability, making a huge difference for the local community, the freight industry and for people travelling north after a weekend on the Coromandel,” said Bridges.
Work will begin this year on the design, consents and property purchase for a long-term overhaul of the stretch between Pokeno and the SH25 intersection. The work will be carried out in five stages over several years.
The 32km-long stretch of road will be widened to three lanes, with two lanes for traffic heading west towards Auckland. The work will also be future-proofed, enabling the road to become four lanes if needed.
Bridges added: “Improving safety on this popular holiday route is a key part of this project. Over the last five years there have been 18 crashes resulting in 34 deaths and serious injuries. The long-term goal is to reduce death and serious injury crashes by 80 per cent over 20 years.
“Evidence tells us the majority of crashes on this stretch of highway are either head-on or where the vehicle runs off the road so median barriers and guard rails will also be installed.”
Construction is expected to get under way in 2017/18.