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$14.6m to Route 52

Leaders break ground on the Route 52 upgrade. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Tararua District Council has been granted $14.6 million from the provincial growth fund for road upgrades on Route 52.

Route 52 is about 24 minutes drive out from Eketahuna.

The council said work would commence on January 6 next year, and a contract signing and groundbreaking ceremony was held at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

The council said the project from Weber to the Central Hawke’s Bay boundary would take three years to complete.

“We are very grateful for the PGF funding, as our small ratepayer base would have struggled to afford it,” Mayor Tracey Collis said.

“Only 18 months ago, after strong submissions from our community wanting Route 52 fixed, we were forced to find alternative funding when our bids to the New Zealand Transport Agency were declined.”

Since the PGF funding was announced in August, the planning team have been busy refining the project scope, developing project plans, undertaking detail survey of the route to enable design and engaging with interested stakeholders, including representatives from the community and the council’s iwi partners, council said..

Plans are under way to establish a project office in Weber to ensure contractors, the management team and residents can engage together throughout the project, the council said.

It said there would also be a community open day in early February to “explain how the project will develop; details of the open day will be promoted in the New Year”.

The project has been officially named “Huarahi Tuhono – Weber to Wimbledon,” meaning, “the road that connects Weber to Wimbledon”.

Collis said she’d “like to thank MP Kieran McAnulty for his support of the project during the application and approval process.”

“Improving the safety and resilience of this vital transport route for our rural residents and visitors was of the utmost importance, and Kieran certainly understood this,” she said.

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