The first of seven bridges to be completed as part of the Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway was opened to traffic today, following a blessing by local iwi. The Kainui Road overbridge is part of the realignment of Kainui Road. It is the first structure to be completed on this section of the Expressway.
Representatives from the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Waikato District Council joined local Iwi and local residents invited to this morning’s ceremony to celebrate the important milestone. The ceremony included a blessing from Kaumatua followed by Waikato District Council Mayor Allan Sanson cutting the ribbon to officially open this section of road.
Mayor Sanson says the opening of the bridge is especially significant for him, as the land just to the south belonged to his wife’s family. “It was the first piece of land to be purchased for the Expressway. Some of her family members still live on Kainui Road, so this adds to their long history with this area.”
The Mayor also says it’s great to see the first of many bridges opening on this part of the Expressway. “Waikato District Council has long advocated for the Expressway as a strong freight link between two large cities and to ensure some of the safety issues on this part of the road are addressed. I’m looking forward to many more bridge openings as the Expressway moves ahead.”
Waikato Expressway Principal Project Manager, Richard Young, says the realignment of Kainui Road has seen the road surface raised about 3.6 metres from its previous level. The Kainui Road overbridge itself is a concrete structure, spanning 50 metres over the alignment of the future Expressway. During the construction of this structure, 105 tonnes of reinforcing steel and 1430 cubic metres of concrete were used.
“The next stage of work is to dig down approximately 4 metres from the old road level underneath the bridge,” says Mr Young. “This excavation will provide a total clearance of about 6 metres to make way for the construction of the future Expressway road which will pass underneath the bridge.”
“We would especially like to thank local residents for their cooperation and interest over the past twelve months while work on the Kainui Road overbridge has been carried out and we are delighted that Fletcher Construction has completed this first bridge on programme.”