A&F Bulletin - Dashwood realignment project

Columns
Monday, March 23, 2015

The Dashwood realignment project is nearly complete. I’m already finding the journey southbound from Blenheim to Seddon and beyond less stressful. What a difference those two kilometres make.

At a cost of close to $7 million, it has been the most ambitious roading project in Marlborough since the Awatere Bridge replacement in 2007.

The project will conclude with the removal of the narrow overbridge, built during the depression, and the redistribution of surplus land. This part of the project will involve consultation with Kiwi Rail, to minimise disruption to rail traffic, and negotiation with the three affected landowners.

Andrew Adams, Project Engineer overseeing construction, says that this has been a great project for the region and is a huge improvement on the old bridge and approach. The new solution will improve travelling times as well as provide safer travel over a well designed seismically resilient over-bridge.

As everyone who drives along SH 1 knows, this road is a one of the highest freight routes in the South Island, with nearly 20% of the vehicles being large truck and trailer units.

Good roading is important to economic growth and productivity. It is important to have roads that provide national connectivity and can adequately handle the movement of freight and other traffic.

With this project nearly complete, the next major roading projects in the Marlborough region are the Opawa and Wairau Bridge replacements, scheduled to begin sometime next year at a cost of between $20 million to $25 million. Replacing the ’banana’ and the Wairau bridges will, like the Dashwood realignment, go some way to improving traffic movement in the region. I would like to think that the ‘banana’ bridge can be retained in some way, as it has historic significance to the region.

The official opening date for the realignment has yet to be confirmed by Marlborough Roads however it is expected to be mid to late April. Given the importance of roading infrastructure to the regions economic growth, I’m optimistic that a senior cabinet minister will be available to open the new stretch of road.