Tararua residents and visitors can now ‘drive the highway’ from the comfort of the Woodville Community Library. Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway project has installed a driving simulator at the library in Woodville on Vogel Street to enable people to experience what the new highway will be like.
The simulator is the same as the popular ‘Drive the Highway’ at the Te Ahu a Turanga visitor centre in Ashhurst, which is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Owner Interface Manager, Grant Kauri, says keeping the community engaged and informed continues to be important, despite challenges presented by COVID-19.
“We appreciate the ongoing public interest in the project and recognise how important it is, especially for local communities. The driving simulator has been popular at the visitor centre in Ashhurst and it’s great to be able to set this up in Tararua so communities on both sides of the ranges can have a go.
“We’re grateful to Tararua District Council for their support in hosting the driving simulator in Woodville. The landscape is changing rapidly at the Woodville end of the highway alignment and the driving simulator will help people to visualise the end result.”
Taking the first drive on the simulator was Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis, who says, “I would like to encourage people to come and see what the new highway will look like. The driving simulator gives a great impression of what to expect, and to get a feel for the transformation that will occur as a result of having a safe and resilient road, and the wealth of opportunity for employment, growth and business the new highway will create.”
There are also posters, flyers and the latest project newsletter at the library. Project newsletters are available at the Ashhurst Library and on the project website, nzta.govt.nz/projects/te-ahu-a-turanga
The $620 million Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway is one of the largest transport projects in the country and is now in its second earthworks season. The highway is expected to be completed in December 2024.