The NZ Transport Agency is closing State Highway 12 (SH12) to all traffic at Hardies Bridge near Matakohe in Northland for six hours on Tuesday (February 12) for maintenance work.
The closure will start at 9am and continue until 3pm. Traffic will be diverted between Paparoa and Matakohe via Oakleigh, Porter and Ararua Roads – an 18 kilometre-long diversion that will add another 15 minutes to journey times.
The NZTA’s acting State Highways Manager for Northland, Steve Mutton, says the closure is necessary to smooth out the surface where the highway and bridge connect at the southern approach.
“We believe the problem has come about from previous work at the southern approach to Hardies Bridge over many years and many reseals. Resealing has raised the level of the road and it is higher than the bridge deck. The alignment or shape of the highway on the southern approach to the bridge and the impact of heavy vehicles in particular is causing the seal to break up.”
Mr Mutton says re-sealing and maintenance work on Hardies Bridge itself last October was done in short bursts so that the highway could frequently be re-opened for traffic.
“This work is more substantial that involves digging, installing additional drainage and laying new seal, which means the bridge and southern approach will need to be closed for the 6 hours. “We regret any inconvenience the work will cause, but closing the highway for a straight six hours without any partial re-opening will allow us to complete our work and deliver a smoother crossing for drivers a lot faster,” Mr Mutton says.
The signposted diversion is along rural roads and the NZTA advises drivers to allow more time for their travel to reach their destinations on time and safely.
“We will be monitoring the diversion during the closure and will have warnings and alerts at particular tight sections of the route for the safety of drivers,” Mr Mutton says.
If bad weather prevents work on 12 February, Hardies Bridge will be closed on the next suitable weekday.