The NZ Transport Agency's $20m State Highway 3 Bell Block Bypass is one big step closer to completion, following the opening to traffic of the Henwood Street Overbridge this morning.
The NZ Transport Agency’s $20m State Highway 3 Bell Block Bypass is one big step closer to completion, following the opening to traffic of the Henwood Street Overbridge this morning.
MP for New Plymouth Jonathan Young, Mayor Peter Tennent and NZTA Central Regional Director Jenny Chetwynd all set their alarms early this morning to be among the first to cross the overbridge. The Taranaki Vintage Car Club led the first convoy across with vehicles dating as far back as 1910, but looking as good as new.
Guests were joined by Hannah Slater, Daniel Wood and Kelsi Olsen from Bell Block school and their principal Roz Miller. The students had won an art competition to draw the overbridge, held jointly by Bell Block School and the NZTA and judged by Ms Chetwynd. Their winning entries, along with others from the school, will be displayed on the project noticeboard outside the school next week.
“We’re thrilled to be able to mark this milestone and have traffic travel over the bridge for the first time,” says Ms Chetwynd.
“This overbridge creates a direct local road link for Bell Block so motorists will no longer have to cross the highway to get from one side of the suburb to another once the bypass is completed.”
“We look forward to next year’s opening of the Bell Block Bypass, which, once complete, will make a huge difference for motorists and the Bell Block community.”
Ms Chetwynd says the overbridge will replace the existing Paraite Road route, and this road will be closed in the near future once motorists are used to using the new overbridge.
The Bell Block Bypass, which has been under construction since late 2006, is specially designed to separate the through traffic from local traffic in the fast-developing Bell Block area. It also includes the widening of the highway up Mangaone Hill to four lanes and will enable vehicles to travel safely at 100km/h uninterrupted from the Egmont Road intersection.
New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young offered his congratulations to all involved in the project.
“Opening this overbridge to traffic is a very significant event, signalling the commencement of opening up the northern outlet for New Plymouth.
“This project is a key step in the development of our roading infrastructure that will keep in step with New Plymouths growth” says Mr Young.
New Plymouth Mayor Peter Tennent says the project, and the bridge, came about because of the combined focus of the good people of this region.
“There has been considerable disruption, but I continue to see smiles and a groundswell of support for seeing this problem area addressed.
“You are all testament to how this region makes things happen!” says Mr Tennent.
Ms Chetwynd says the Bell Block Bypass is a large project and a significant investment for the region.
“This project will reduce congestion and improve safety, which will make a big difference both for traffic travelling to and from New Plymouth City and also Bell Block and beyond.
“We’d like to thank the Bell Block community for being so supportive and patient while this project continues.”
For more information, or photos from the event, please contact:
M 027 309 8725