Work will start on the Awakino Tunnel bypass on SH3 between Taranaki and King Country later this year.
The 2.3km bypass will take traffic away from the single-lane Awakino Tunnel, built in the 1920s. The new route will include two bridges over the Awakino River, and include a passing lane, landscaped rest area and walkway to the tunnel.
NZ Transport Agency Systems Manager Ross I’Anson says this is an exciting time as we continue to make safety, resilience and route availability improvements on State Highway 3 from Awakino Gorge to Mt Messenger.
“The walking track which has been included in the final design is a fantastic feature as it allows people access to the old tunnel and to explore the historical area.
“Safety improvements and efficiency gains will benefit the 2300 vehicles which travel this road, of which 20 per cent are heavy vehicle.”
“Although construction is not scheduled to later in the year people can expect to see work begin on site as geotechnical investigations start onsite,” says Mr I’Anson
Construction is planned to commence in October 2019, following the Transport Agency awarding the $28.9 million contract to Fulton Hogan.
The project is scheduled for completion in May 2021.
“Because most of the work is away from the existing highway the project is unlikely to cause travel time delays.
“Throughout the project we will continue to work closely with all our stakeholders,” says Mr I’Anson.
Meanwhile safety improvements continue along this stretch of SH3, such as road widening, intersection improvements, passing opportunities, road realignments and work on slope stability.
Image: An artist’s impression of the bypass, looking north, showing a walking track going under the bridge leading up to the old tunnel.
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