Construction of the State Highway 29A (SH29A) Maungatapu underpass in Tauranga is underway.
The underpass will separate state highway and local traffic, and provide new cycle links and pedestrian access around the area.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges turned the first sod at a ceremony earlier in the month and two public information sessions were held, ahead of the construction starting.
The Transport Agency’s Bay of Plenty highway manager Niclas Johansson says there has been a lot of interest from the community.
“It was great to see around 500 people attend the information sessions. We’re aware that this is a complex project on a busy stretch of road and will involve extensive traffic management.”
“The Transport Agency and Fulton Hogan are focussed on doing everything to minimise disruption to traffic. Because of this, work will be carried out between 9am and 4pm, outside of peak commuting times.”
“The changes we are making will help ease congestion and improve safety now and into the future as Tauranga continues to grow.”
A key focus for the project is to also minimise the environmental impacts during construction, giving careful consideration to the surrounding wetlands and waterways, neighbouring cultural and residential areas, and the wider community.
“We’ve spent the last few months permanently relocating eel and banded kokopu (fish) to a new wetland area and building the Scouts and Guides a new hall at Isla Park,” says Mr Johansson.
Other work will include walkway pedestrian access, wetland enhancement and a new cycleway link is planned.
When complete the underpass will be a two lane link underneath the Maungatapu roundabout which will improve the traffic flow around the Maungatapu and Hairini roundabouts. It will link Welcome Bay Road and to the Turret Road causeway and a new bridge will be constructed over Kaitemako Stream.
“The digital animation gives an overview of the project showing detailed changes to the road layout which will take place during the next three years”, says Mr Johansson.