Northlanders will start to see more activity near the Kaeo River from next week as Waka Kotahi begins preparations for a new two-lane bridge that will improve safety and traffic flow in the area.
Construction work on the SH10 Kaeo Bridge Safety Improvements project officially began on Friday as Hon Kelvin Davis joined Waka Kotahi and local iwi to turn the first sod.
“This area is a key junction for locals and visitors alike. A two-lane bridge will help to reduce bottlenecks which often develop during peak times, making travel more efficient for all road users, including freight,” says Mark Kinvig, Waka Kotahi National Manager Infrastructure Delivery.
The $40 million project includes a two-way bridge, sitting just south of the current bridge and closer to the township, as well as a roundabout at the intersection of SH10 and Whangaroa Rd.
Safety will be improved by smoothing out the sharp corner on one approach to the bridge and upgrading the nearby intersection to improve visibility.
While working on the long-term solution, Waka Kotahi will also be putting temporary safety measures in place to help relieve confusion around the current bridges one-way system.
“From November there will be vehicle activated traffic lights prior to the bridge approach. This will even-out wait times and allow drivers to more safely navigate on-coming traffic.”
The new bridge will be the same height as the previous one, but at 110m it will be twice as long in order to avoid any adverse upstream impacts to the township.
“This area is extremely low lying and we know its prone to flooding during heavy rains,” says Mark Kinvig.
“By not increasing the height of the road, we won’t create a dam and doubling the length will allow a larger volume of water to flow underneath it.”
The remainder of the year will see the team carrying out earthworks, with construction ramping up in 2022.
“We know the bridge has been a big focal point for the community and we are really pleased to now be in a position to start work, following delays caused by budget constraints and COVID-19.”
The project is funded through the National Land Transport Fund and is expected to be completed in 2024, at which time the old bridge will be demolished.