New bridge two years off
The 50kmh speed limit over the Atiamuri Bridge will remain for another two years.
The speed restriction is in place to protect the bridge on state highway one while a replacement is built alongside.
The New Zealand Transport Agency is seeking resource consent for the bridge, negotiating the purchase of land needed for the project and working on the design of the new bridge between Tokoroa and Taupo which HEB Construction will build.
Work is due to start in the second half of this year. Construction is expected to take about 18 months.
The 50kmh speed limit will remain until the new bridge is opened. It was introduced in 2009 along with a weight restriction after the transport agency detected structural issues.
The lower speed limit was installed to help prevent further deterioration to the bridge.
The agency said they inspected the bridge every three months and reported no further deterioration since restrictions were imposed.
NZTA state highway manager Kaye Clark said the speed and weight restrictions reduced the loading impact on the 50-year-old bridge.
‘‘NZTA has implemented a proactive monitoring programme for the Atiamuri Bridge which ensures that maintenance work is carried out as and when it’s needed,’’ Mrs Clarke said.
‘‘ This maintenance programme, in conjunction with the restrictions, ensures that the bridge stays safe and oper- ational until replaced.’’
The new bridge will be about 60 metres upstream from the existing bridge and will have a wider carriageway of two 3.5m lanes and 1.5m shoulders.
It will also accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.
The project also includes a new northbound passing lane and the realignment of the approach road, which will remove several low-speed curves and enable the intersection with state highway 30 to be upgraded.
GO SLOW: The 50kmh speed limit over the Atiamuri Bridge will be in place for another two years.