Strengthening works on several bridges in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty will assist efficient freight movement in the region and increase safety along key freight routes
The SH2 Kaituna bridge is inspected prior to strengthening work getting under way.
Three bridges on State Highway 29 (SH29) between the lower Kaimais and Tauranga; another three on State Highway 3 (SH3) between Te Awamutu and Awakino; and three on State Highway 1 (SH1) between Tirau and Putaruru are being upgraded to make them suitable for High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMVs). Some bridges on State Highway 2 (SH2) between Tauranga and Rotorua are also being strengthened to improve HPMV access on this route.
The strengthening works will allow these bridges to carry greater volumes of freight mass along these sections of road – resulting in fewer trips overall for each vehicle.
The SH29 work covers the Te Ahara Stream Bridge near Soldiers Road; and bridges at Kopurererua and Kaukumoutiti. The SH3 work focuses on the Mangapiko Stream bridge just north of Te Awamutu, the Mangaorongo Stream bridge near KioKio Station Road and the Mangaotaki River bridge 15kms south of Piopio. The SH1 work is on the Oraka Stream bridge, just south of Tirau; the Oraka Stream Bridge at the northern entrance to Putaruru and the rail overbridge just south of Putaruru. The works on SH2 focus on the SH2 Kaituna bridge (part of the Tauranga Eastern Link project) and the Kawanui bridge on SH5 near Reporoa.
The bridge strengthening works form part of a national programme by the Transport Agency aimed at opening up more key HPMV routes between Auckland, Waikato and Tauranga (SH29 works); Hamilton and New Plymouth (SH3 works), Hamilton to Rotorua (SH1 works); and Tauranga to Rotorua (SH2 works).
As well as the significant commercial advantages of HPMVs (including lower vehicle operating costs, driver hours and fuel) there are also important safety benefits from the reduced crash risk that fewer truck trips provide.