Geotechnical testing has begun this week as part of the NZ Transport Agency's (NZTA) investigation into improving the Maunganui-Girven Road intersection (MGI) on State Highway 2.
The existing roundabout is one of the busiest intersections in Tauranga City. Traffic volumes have steadily increased over the last 10 years to more than 35,000 vehicles per day including approximately 2,200 heavy commercial vehicles. The roundabout frequently causes significant delays to road users.
Richard Young, the NZTA’s Acting Tauranga State Highway Manager says the investigation will consider ways to reduce congestion and improve traffic flows and safety at the intersection.
Mr Young says the geotechnical testing will be undertaken over the next two weeks and involves drilling boreholes and digging pits. Soil samples will be collected and tested for a range of properties including soil strength.
“Determining local ground conditions is an important part of evaluating the type of construction a road or structure may require if a particular solution is chosen as the preferred option, says Mr Young.
“People can expect to see drilling rigs and plant along Maunganui Road, and at the entrance to each leg of the roundabout, over the next couple of weeks. There will be some testing carried out within the carriageway, requiring brief lane closures, however this will be carried out during off-peak periods to minimise disruption to the traffic. Testing will only be undertaken where the NZTA has reached agreement with the land owner(s) for access.”
The investigation includes considering several potential options for the intersection. Each option will be reviewed for factors such its effect on traffic flow and safety, and any design and environmental constraints it might have.
Once the NZTA has identified the preferred solution and determined its estimated cost, the project will be prioritised for design and construction funding through the Regional Land Transport Programme.