The NZ Transport Agency is opening the second lane temporarily on the new Punganui Stream Bridge on State Highway 16 north of Helensville this afternoon to provide safer and smoother travel on the rural highway during the Christmas/New year holiday break.
“Although work on the bridge is not finished, our priority is to ensure we do all we can at this time of year to give people the best journey possible on a highway that we promote as an alternative to an extremely busy SH1,” says the NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker.
The NZTA encourages drivers travelling between Auckland and Northland to consider using SH16, which links west and north Auckland with the town of Wellsford, and avoid congestion elsewhere.
The NZTA opened the first stage of the new Punganui Stream Bridge last July, and it has been operating as a single-lane crossing controlled by traffic signals. The signals stop operating at 5pm this afternoon when traffic can also start using the partially completed second lane. A 50 kilometre an hour speed restriction will operate in both directions.
“We’re delighted that we can provide this temporary opening to help people during the Christmas/New year holiday rush, but we ask them to observe the speed limit and cross the bridge with care because we still have a project to finish,” Mr Parker says.
The second lane will close again in mid-January so that contractors can finish sealing the new lane, and other work on the project can also be completed.
The $7.2m structure replaces a 75-year-old single lane bridge that could no longer adequately handle growing traffic volumes on this section of SH16. Besides two lanes of traffic, the new bridge provides improved access for walkers and cyclists, and its approaches have been upgraded to give drivers clearer and safer vision ahead.
People planning holiday travel can get up to date information about traffic conditions from roadside electronic message boards, calling 0800 444449, or at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/current-conditions/highway-info/(external link)
Tools to help plan a journey that is safe and enjoyable is available at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/info/around-nz/holidays/html(external link)