New life for aging bridge – significant road closure for Rotorua


During the September school holidays Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will be closing a small, yet important, section of State Highway 5, Old Taupō Road, in Rotorua.

From Monday 25 September, SH5 at the Utuhina Stream bridge, near Rotorua Boys’ High School, will be closed for three weeks, says Waka Kotahi System Manager for the Bay of Plenty, Roger Brady.

“We need to undertake critical work at the site to extend the life of the bridge and prevent further deterioration.

“Over time, erosion has exposed piles beneath the southern side of the bridge, and to resolve this we need to remove a section of road and install sheet piles,” says Mr Brady.

There will be a full road closure between Sunset Road and Pukuatua Street and traffic will be detoured using local roads.

“We want to reassure local residents and business owners that they will be able to access their properties at all times. There will also be access for pedestrians and cyclists through the site,” said Mr Brady.

SH5 is a busy urban road within Rotorua, and a key route for High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMV) and heavy haulage vehicles travelling through Rotorua.

“Our rationale for closing the road is that it substantially reduces the time our crews are required to be on site, minimising the overall disruption.

"Careful consideration was given to minimising the overall impact of the project. We explored different construction methods. Fully closing the road means the work is done in the shortest possible time over school holidays. 

“Partial closure to keep traffic moving through the site would take much longer, up to four months, and would result in traffic congestion and delays for the duration of the works. 

“We’re working closely with Rotorua Lakes Council and our contractor Fulton Hogan to carry out the work as quickly as possible. We will need weather, machinery and ground conditions to all cooperate, however we have a comprehensive programme in place and are confident we’ll be able to achieve the timeframe,” says Mr Brady.

The 21-metre Utuhina Stream bridge was constructed in 1955 and carries approximately 25,000 vehicles per day.

“This work is going to cause disruption to people’s daily travel around Rotorua. We urge all motorists to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journey.

“Most importantly, we thank you for your patience while this work is carried out.,” says Mr Brady.

Detour details:

The majority of vehicles will be able to follow the local detours. 

  • All light vehicles to detour via Malfroy Road, Ford Road and Sunset Road.
  • Heavy vehicles and CBD traffic to detour via Lake Road and Ranolf Street.
  • HPMV vehicles will need to use SH1, and either SH5 or SH30.

Pedestrians and cyclists will have access through the worksite.