Forgotten World Highway’s new Kahouri Stream Bridge officially blessed


The new two-lane bridge on State Highway 43 east of Stratford has now been officially blessed by Iwi and is expected to be open to traffic by the end of next week, weather dependent.

Construction on the new bridge began in June last year and the project is part of the wider SH43 improvements project which includes current sealing work through Tāngarakau Gorge.

The project also includes new signage and side barriers on other parts of the iconic highway.

Yesterday morning, Stratford District Council Mayor Neil Volzke joined NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi staff, local iwi representatives from Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Maru and contractors at a blessing to mark the completion of the bridge.

NZTA Principal Project Manager Chris Nally says the current one-lane bridge, built in 1908, remains structurally sound, and will be retained for people to walk and cycle across.

“The new bridge will provide safer access for vehicles. Both lanes will be 3.5 metres wide with a one metre verge on each side - the new bridge will better accommodate increased traffic volumes in the area and create a safer, more accessible route for trucks and the travelling public.

“This highway is one of our favourite tourist hotspots - it’s iconic for the region and the current work aims to make sure the highway is a safer, more resilient way for people to connect with Taranaki,” says Mr Nally.

Mayor Volzke is excited about the economic opportunities the bridge and the SH43 improvements present.

“The construction of this new bridge is a significant milestone for the Stratford district and plays a major part in the wider safety improvement project across State Highway 43. The upgraded connection across the Kahouri Stream at the entrance of Kopuatama Cemetery will enable better traffic flow, removing the delays that come with the existing single lane bridge, while also providing a safer travel route for all road users.”

Chris Nally says the support from motorists has made the project that much easier.

“Motorists have been incredibly understanding during the construction period and we’re grateful for their support. I also want to thank engineers WSP and contractor Emmetts for their work on the project.

“Adding to the project, local iwi Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Maru have collaborated on cultural artwork which has been sandblasted into the bridge.

“The bridge and newly realigned road is set to open to traffic at the weekend (weather dependent), with some work to finish asphalting and line marking – work that has been held up by weather conditions.

This project is one of several improvements for the Forgotten World Highway, funded jointly through Kānoa -  Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit.