Construction has begun on New Zealand’s SH50A Expressway Southern Extension in the Hawke’s Bay region, the road’s final connection to the south.

Work involves building a 3.2km greenfields route to directly connect the intersections at York Road and Longlands Road, which will remove a bottleneck and a crash blackspot at the York Road-Maraekakaho Road intersection.

The road currently comes down from Napier towards Hastings to York Road. The project is expected to save motorists time and fuel as well as prevent accidents on the route.

The $12m project has been designed by Opus International Consultants and construction and will be carried out by Higgins contractors.

The project is expected to finish in 2011.