The NZ Transport Agency has completed the first phase of construction of the Punganui Bridge on State Highway 16 north of Helensville and opened the new section to traffic as a single lane crossing.
The old single-lane bridge beside it will now be demolished so that the second stage of the replacement bridge can be built – providing two lanes of traffic and safer access for walkers and cyclists. The NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says the $7.2m replacement project is due to be completed by Christmas.
“We would like to thank people for their patience and understanding during the first stage of construction of the bridge,” Mr Parker says. “Their support has enabled us to keep this section of SH16 open during construction. We ask people to continue to drive with care - they are driving through a live construction zone and there’s a safety risk for them and workers on the project.”
The NZTA is replacing the existing bridge with one that is safer and stronger. When completed, it will be 60.1m long and 13.9m wide [the present bridge is 34.9m long and 7m wide]. The new one has two lanes 3.5m wide, two shoulders 1.5m wide and one footpath 2.2m wide. Approaches to the new bridge are being widened by approximately 1m on either side.
Mr Parker says the existing bridge, built 75 years ago, is too narrow to adequately handle growing traffic volumes in this section of SH16, and there is poor line of sight.
“This is a safety issue that the new bridge will rectify,” says Mr Parker. “The existing bridge is also vulnerable to flooding and possible rising sea levels, and its replacement is being constructed high enough the minimise these risks.”