Taipā’s new bridge will open to two lanes of traffic for the first time on Thursday afternoon before Labour Weekend.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager Project Delivery Andrew Thackwray says there’s still some finishing work to be done including a final seal and road markings, but the bridge is ready for use.
“It’s appropriate to open the bridge for the holiday weekend as the project is all about improving the safe movement of summer holiday traffic through the town.”
“Summer is coming, and we want to show what a difference the two-lane bridge will make to the town and its visitor traffic.”
“We thank the people of Taipā for their patience and understanding during the bridge construction. There’s been quite a bit of disruption and restrictions in the main street as well. But now we have a safer, efficient bridge as well as town centre improvements and more cycling and walking options.”
The new $19m bridge is 107 metres long. Its most striking feature is the waka tauihu (prow) and taurapa (stern) end panels of a seafaring waka adorning each end of the bridge structure. It acknowledges Taipā as one of the first landing places in New Zealand of the Polynesian explorer Kupe.
The waka hourua (a traditional double hulled sailing canoe) design and the pou whenua were the result of extensive collaboration between the Transport Agency and the local hapu representatives of Ngati Kahu. The close relationship with Ngati Kahu saw the relocation of the old monument from the shop carpark to a more prominent and deserving location. The monument commemorates local fallen soldiers that have passed in the line of duty.
“It was really important that we worked closely with local hapu to acknowledge Taipā’s rich history, the significance of its river and estuary and the role of the bridge in the town’s future.”
“The bridge is a modern forward-looking structure with its 2.5m wide shared path for pedestrians and cyclists. And the viewing platform acknowledges the bridge’s place in the community as a summertime resting and diving spot for kids of all ages.”
Taipā is on the Twin Coast Discovery Route and a popular summer destination for holidaymakers and tourists. The town’s old one lane bridge was often a congestion point, but the new two-lane bridge is part of 1km of roading and town centre improvements in Taipā.
It opened to one lane of traffic on 15 February this year, with the other half of the bridge used for machinery and equipment in the deconstruction of the old bridge. The new bridge will be officially opened in early December in time for the peak summer period.
For more on the Taipā Bridge project see: nzta.govt.nz/taipa-bridge
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