Travellers on State Highway 1 between Foxton and Levin will be driving over the new $70 million Whirokino Trestle and Manawatū River Bridge within days, when traffic will be directed from the old bridges to the new ones.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency expects traffic to be switched onto the new alignment in the coming days.
Regional Transport Systems Manager Ross l’Anson says while there is still some finishing work to be done, including tie-in works at each end and connections to the local road network, the new 600-metre-long structure is ready for use and will offer a much-improved route for freight and travellers.
“This section of State Highway 1 is a vital link for the lower North Island and improving its resilience has been a key priority for the Transport Agency. The new structure is stronger, safer and looking fantastic.
“The exact time of the switch isn’t yet confirmed, but once it happens, motorists will simply be directed onto the new route as they continue their journey.”
Motorists should also be aware that traffic management and reduced temporary speed limits will remain in place while final construction activities take place to enable the switch, and to then complete tie-in works after the switch.
This includes stop/go controls, depending on construction activities and road surface conditions.
Southbound traffic wanting to use Whirokino or Matakarapa Road’s will need to follow the posted detour which will loop them back over the old Manawatu River Bridge.
“While our crews are putting the final touches to this project, we’re asking drivers to keep to the posted speed limits and take care around the site,” says Mr l’Anson.
“We thank everyone who uses this road, and especially the people of Horowhenua and Manawatū, for their patience and understanding during the bridge construction.”
Construction of the tie-ins at each end is expected to take approximately eight weeks to complete.
When complete, the project will offer a more reliable, resilient, safer route for freight and travellers.
The old Whirokino Trestle and Manawatū River Bridge are reaching the end of their lives and no longer meet current standards. Their condition means that High Productivity Motor Vehicles (i.e. HPMV, larger than the standard 44 tonne vehicles) have had to take a 14 kilometre detour via State Highway 57.
Besides offering a safer, wider and more resilient route, the new structure will provide time savings of up to 20 minutes per HPMV.
For more on the Whirokino Trestle and Manawatū River Bridge see: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/whirokino-trestle-and-manawatu-river-bridge/
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