Construction is now underway on the replacement Atiamuri Bridge on State Highway 1.
Work started on the $24m project in November 2011 and a celebration ceremony was held today (Friday 2 March) on the work site to celebrate construction being underway. The event was also an occasion to acknowledge the benefits that the new bridge and its approaches will provide for road users and the local and national economy once completed around mid-2013.
Joining the NZTA at the celebration were local MP Louise Upston along with South Waikato District Council Mayor Neil Sinclair, local iwi and guests from the wider Atiamuri community, including Upper Atiamuri School.
“The Atiamuri Bridge Replacement Project recognises the importance the NZ Transport Agency places on ensuring its main routes are reliable and can carry their volumes of freight and traffic,” says NZTA Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Director, Harry Wilson. “This NZTA project will provide safer access for all road users along one of New Zealand’s key freight routes while creating economic benefits for the region and beyond.”
Construction on the new bridge, which is being built 75 metres upstream from the current one, will create a wider bridge carriageway with two 3.5 m lanes and 1.5m shoulders. The project also includes the:
Mr Wilson says the local community and people passing through or visiting the area will also benefit from an enhanced environment as a result of the completed project. “We’re also going to relocate and improve the rest area and site it next to a new car park, which will give better access to the developing Waikato cycling and river trails near the bridge. It will also provide a fatigue stop for tourists and other drivers who would otherwise be tempted to drive long distances without a break.”
The existing 50-year-old Atiamuri bridge has had a permanent 50km/h speed limit on the bridge and restrictions on overweight vehicles in place since 2009, and is regularly monitored to ensure it's safety until the replacement bridge opens. Once the new bridge is opened, the old bridge will be removed.
More project information is available on the NZTA website(external link).