Safer journeys for cyclists over the Waitangi Washout Bridge on SH2 between Napier and Clive are just months away, with work set to begin this month on a new cycleway.
Transport Agency regional journeys manager Oliver Postings says a dedicated ‘clip-on’ cycle facility, due to be completed mid-year, will provide safe passage over the bridge for cyclists and pedestrians, while easing frustration for motorists.
Mr Postings says to enable the work to progress, the bridge will be closed from dusk till dawn during weeknights in mid to late April.
“We’re conscious that safety of cyclists on this bridge has been a concern for some time. Cyclists share the narrow bridge with a lot of traffic – often heavy vehicles – and it’s a far from ideal situation for everyone. Cyclists feel unsafe, and motorists are frustrated at their inability to overtake safely. A clip-on cycleway will provide relief for everyone.”
Mr Postings says the bridge will be closed from Monday 13 April until Saturday 25 April to enable piles to be driven into the riverbed.. The bridge will be closed for crossing during these times from 7pm till 6.30am. The bridge will be open on the night of Sunday 19 April.
Mr Postings says the Agency recognises the inconvenience of the overnight closures, but it will be a case of ‘short term pain, long term gain’.
“Given the enormous safety benefits of the cycleway, we think motorists will be very understanding of the need for overnight bridge closures to enable us to make this happen.
“The alternative was to keep the bridge open, and do the work during daylight hours. But this would have required months of delays and intermittent road closures. By shutting the bridge over two working weeks, we can get it done sooner and at a lower cost.
“People may remember that significant delays arose last year when we did daytime work on the bridge. We don’t want drivers to have to endure those delays again, and we think night-time closures is the best way to keep disruption to a minimum.”
Mr Postings says the Agency remains conscious of the importance of the bridge in providing access for residents, transport operators, visitors and other road users. Detours will be in place, and crews will do everything they can to keep traffic moving.
Full detour route details will be advertised prior to the work.
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