New Atiamuri Bridge opens to traffic this Monday 18 March 2013
The NZ Transport Agency has held an official ceremony today to celebrate the completion of the new Atiamuri Bridge on State Highway 1 between Tokoroa and Taupo. The new bridge, completed by HEB Construction ahead of time and on budget, will open to traffic this Monday (18 March).
Joining the NZTA at today’s celebration were local MP Louise Upston (representing the Minister of Transport), Norm Barker (Waikato Regional Land Transport Committee Chair), South Waikato District Council Mayor Neil Sinclair, local iwi and guests from the wider Atiamuri community, including Upper Atiamuri School.
NZTA Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Director, Harry Wilson, says the completion of the new bridge will ensure route security and improve safety, reliability and access for road users along this section of SH1, which is a significant freight route within the region. “The completion of the new bridge is also expected to bring regional and national benefits while stimulating economic growth locally and New Zealand-wide. It will ensure better and safer movement of people and freight between the lower North Island and the Upper North Island’s ‘golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.”
Site preparation and construction on the $24M Atiamuri Bridge Replacement project began in November 2011. The project’s progress has been streamed via webcam on the NZTA’s website, allowing people to see what’s happening on the construction site in close to real time.
The new bridge has been built about 75 metres upstream of the previous bridge and it features a wider bridge carriageway with two 3.5 m lanes and shoulders between 1.5m-3.5m. Other improvements include 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. “There is now better access to the developing Waikato cycling and river trails near the bridge. The rest area also provides a fatigue stop for tourists and other drivers who would otherwise be tempted to drive long distances without a break.”
South Waikato District Mayor, Neil Sinclair, congratulates everyone involved with the new bridge. “The realignment of approaches and the passing lane will eliminate some previously dangerous areas; and the innovative design will see better use of our exciting cycleway around the Waikato River,” he says. “Efficient transport flow is essential for both our national and regional economy – and this bridge is a major contributor to those aims.”
Mayor of Taupo District, Rick Cooper, says the economic flow-on effects the new bridge will provide will be welcomed locally and nationwide. “Being at the heart of the North Island, the transport links into and out of Taupo District are of critical importance. Now that this project has been successfully completed we can look forward to the improvements to our economy that this enhancement will bring”.
During construction the project team has successfully minimised any impacts on the area’s waterways and surrounding environment. This was recognised in the middle of last year, when the project received an 'Innovative Practice' award from the Waikato Regional Council for achieving a high quality of erosion and sediment control on earthworks.
Harry Wilson says this achievement demonstrates how NZTA’s projects can be adapted to take account of extremely sensitive environments, making ongoing improvements to processes along the way. “This approach will also be a focus over the next few months as further native planting and landscaping is completed and the old bridge is deconstructed.”
Atiamuri Bridge Replacement project website
The Atiamuri Bridge Replacement project webcams can be viewed online along with project updates, photos and other information on the project’s NZTA webpages at www.nzta.govt.nz/atiamuri-bridge