Highway to close for a month
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.
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.