Road users on State Highway 27 south of Matamata will soon be travelling over the newly constructed Manawapou Bridge across the Mangawhero Stream as construction on the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency project draws to a close.
Traffic has been detoured since 10 January to allow for the new bridge and stretches of road either side to be completed, with the detour set to end on Tuesday 19 April. This is slightly later than the intended opening of 14 April, due to difficulty providing traffic management over the Easter period.
Formerly named and known as the Mangawhero Stream Bridge, the new Manawapou Bridge is 80 metres metres long and received its name from the three local iwi groups, Ngāti Hinerangi, Ngāti Hauā and Raukawa.
Iwi representative, Lisa Gardiner of Ngāti Hauā said the name means ‘to support life’ and serves as an acknowledgment to those who have lost their lives near the old Mangawhero Stream Bridge, which had a poor safety record due to its narrowness and the unexpected curves in the road leading up to it.
Waka Kotahi Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery Jo Wilton said it will be pleasing to see the bridge open to traffic as it is an important step in making journeys in the east Waikato safer.
Ms Wilton thanked motorists and local residents for their patience throughout the project and said the finishing touches, including landscaping and the demolition of the old bridge are on track to be completed by the end of May 2022.
A temporary roundabout installed where the detour connects with SH29 is set to be removed following Anzac Day. This was needed to manage the increased volumes using the intersection from the detour route but was always intended to be temporary for the duration of the works as it is not safe or suitable to be in place for an extended length of time.
However, the future of this intersection is being looked at closely part of the SH29 Piarere to SH28 Corridor Improvements Project. This is currently at feasibility stage and has proposed a permanent roundabout be installed here in future, should the project meet prioritisation and funding approval.