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Locals urged to plan journeys as Gladstone Road Bridge widening kicks off

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Tairāwhiti Roads will begin work on Monday on the Gladstone Road Bridge shared walking and cycling path, and is advising motorists and cyclists to allow for extra time for their journeys with delays expected throughout the construction period.

The shared path is part of Gisborne’s Urban Cycleways Programme, which aims to get more locals on their bikes by developing a dedicated walking and cycling network around and across Gisborne that provides safe connections between schools, recreation areas, business centres and residential areas.

The work getting underway on Monday involves widening the historic bridge to accomodate the shared path, and is scheduled for completion in January 2019.

A traffic management plan is in place for the duration of the project which includes a 30 kilometre per hour speed limit restriction, no ‘straight through’ access from the bridge on to Gladstone Road, and no right turns from the Esplanade on to Gladstone Road Bridge.

“Our priority is to keep people moving — safely — throughout the project,” says Tairāwhiti Roads General Manager Dave Hadfield.

The downstream footpath and cycle lane on the bridge will be completely closed, so pedestrians heading towards the CBD will be diverted under the bridge to the upstream footpath. For safety reasons, cyclists will be diverted to Rutene Road to cross the river via William Pettie Bridge.

“We expect there will be delays for drivers and cyclists, but we will be monitoring traffic closely and can revise the Traffic Management Plan if there are any problem areas,” Mr Hadfield says.

“The main thing for locals and visitors to be aware of is the need to allow extra time for journey planning. We’ll have a better idea of how long the average delay is once we’re a couple of weeks into the project.”

The 30 kilometre per hour speed restriction will be removed for Labour Day weekend, and over the busy Christmas and New Year break.

Extra traffic controllers will also be brought in on days when cruise ship visitors flock to the city.

The majority of construction works can be completed while keeping both lanes open, however there will be some days over the five month period where one lane closure is required. This will be done in off-peak times only.

The bridge is being widened by 1.5 metres to create a three metre shared path. Pre-fabricated cantilevered concrete slabs will be put together to extend the width. A new but identical (because of the bridge’s Pouhere Taonga Heritage NZ status) concrete balustrade will then be installed.

Interested locals can follow updates on the project’s progress at: www.nzta.govt.nz/gladstone-road-bridge

For further details on Gisborne’s Urban Cycleways Programme: www.nzta.govt.nz/walking-cycling-and-public-transport/cycling/investing-in-cycling/urban-cycleways-programme/gisborne-urban-cycleways-programme/

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