Bridge projects mov­ing ahead

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - ANNETTE LAMBLY

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.

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