Bridge projects moving ahead
The replacement of three of Northland’s notorious one way bridges is expected get underway later this year.
Bridges in Northland have been a contentious issue since the 2015 by-election with National’s pledge to spend $69 million to replace 10 one-lane bridges.
Last week Transport Minister Simon Bridges appointed the contract to replace two bridges at Matakohe and one at Taipa in the Far North with two-way structures jointly to Fulton Hogan and Aurecon.
The new bridge at Taipa will provide greater resilience during extreme weather events and improve safety as well as providing better connections along the Twin Coast Discovery route between the Bay of Islands and Doubtless Bay,while the Matakohe replacements will improve safety for all road users.
The Matakohe improvements include a realignment of the state highway to remove the tight bends approaching the bridges, a new intersection to the iconic Kauri Museum and cycling connections along the Twin Coast Discovery route.
Public consultation on the pre- ferred alignment for both the bridges will take place in the first quarter of this year. This is in addition to the public feedback already collected following a series of open days last October.
Sue Reyland,a Matakohe resident, has been campaigning for a total road alignment for five years since she and her teenage daughter were hit head on by a bus motor home driver who failed to give way on the Anderson’s bridge in 2012.
Reyland says she is pleased with the announcement. ‘‘My campaign all along has been about safety. Ten people have been killed on those bridges.’’
‘‘NZTA have kept me regularly up-dated and recently brought Fulton Hogan people out to my property with the new road alignment design.’’
An information afternoon will be held at the Matakohe War Memorial Hall on February 23, 3-7pm.
The proposal includes a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists and provision to include the replacement of the Kaeo bridge also in the Far North.
Construction of this bridge is planned to get underway in 2018, subject to consents and property purchase.