High­way to close for a month

Te Puke Times - - NEWS - By KIRI GILLE­SPIE

The main high­way be­tween Pa¯pa¯moa and Te Puke will be closed for a month early next year.

The Jan­uary clo­sure will al­low for the in­stal­la­tion of a re­place­ment cul­vert about 200m south of Wel­come Bay Rd. The road in this area has set­tled over time, dam­ag­ing the cul­vert, and mo­torists will need to ac­cess the high­way via Bell Rd dur­ing the works.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency stated the di­ver­sion was ex­pected to add an­other two min­utes to peo­ple’s jour­ney times but Te Puke Diner owner John Shrestha was not con­vinced.

“This will im­pact ev­ery­one who trav­els ev­ery day,” he said.

Strestha was con­cerned he, and oth­ers, would have to get up ex­tra early and re­ar­range his fam­ily’s daily rou­tine to al­low for the Tau­ranga to Te Puke com­mute.

“For me, it’s more stress. We drive ev­ery day and to drive on Bell Rd, where there will be huge traf­fic com­ing out of Pa¯pa¯moa — that’s not a high­way — there will be a lot of con­ges­tion.”

Shrestha said it would have made sense to time the clo­sure with other re­cent road­works in and around Te Puke in­stead of cre­at­ing what seemed to be a con­stant stream of road­works.

West­ern Bay of Plenty Dis­trict Coun­cil group man­ager of in­fra­struc­ture ser­vice Gary Al­lis said the clo­sure was timed to al­low the work to be done be­fore the ki­wifruit har­vest and school sea­son.

The month was needed to al­low a pipe jack de­sign “that is un­able to be eas­ily in­stalled due to the geo-tech na­ture of the sub­soils, hence the ne­ces­sity to com­pletely close the road”.

“A joint com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan will be im­ple­mented by NZTA and coun­cil once the dates for the work is fi­nalised. This will in­clude me­dia and vari­able mes­sage boards on the road­sides giv­ing plenty of no­tice to the de­tour and for­mal ad­ver­tis­ing of the road clo­sure.

“The de­tour will be well sign­posted . . . for the de­tour dur­ing the con­struc­tion of the Wel­come Bay/Te Puke High­way round­about.”

Al­lis said the work was be­ing fully funded by the trans­port agency as part of the agreed works when Te Puke High­way was trans­ferred to coun­cil from the agency.

Trans­port agency de­liv­ery man­ager Dar­ryl Coal­ter said the re­place­ment of the cul­vert was one of the last el­e­ments to be com­pleted as part of the road be­ing handed over to the coun­cil.

It is ex­pected to cost $500,000 but “the fi­nal cost is still be­ing worked through”.

“In or­der to re­place the cul­vert, we need to ex­ca­vate ap­prox­i­mately 30m in length of road and to a depth of around 5m.”

The work will take about a month but the agency was “in­ves­ti­gat­ing fur­ther op­tions to shorten the length of time”.

Te Puke High­way was orig­i­nally State High­way 2 un­til the con­struc­tion of the Tau­ranga East­ern Link.

When the link opened in 2015 the for­mer SH2 was re­named Te Puke High­way.

PHOTO / JOHN BOR­REN

Te Puke Diner owner John Shrestha, whose daily com­mute from Tau­ranga will have to be down a Pa¯pa¯moa di­ver­sion as NZTA close Te Puke High­way.

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