The NZ Transport Agency and its project partners are completing final preparations so that the first southbound lanes on the duplicate Mangere Harbour Bridge on the Southwestern Motorway [State Highway 20] can be opened to traffic early tomorrow morning [Tuesday, 27 July].
The NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says everything is on track but the weather will decide if the bridge is ready in time
“This work is very much weather dependant and the weather does look a bit dicey at the moment,” says Mr Parker. “The pavement needs to be dry in order to do line marking of the road surface – if it’s wet, this can’t happen and the opening will have to be deferred until later in the week.”
If the weather remains dry, the NZTA will open two motorway lanes on the duplicate bridge plus a third lane for local traffic between the communities of Mangere Bridge and Onehunga on either side of the harbour.
“There will be changes to the layout of the highway when the first lanes do open, and people should drive with care,” says Mr Parker.
When all work on the duplicate and existing bridges is completed by the end of August, there will be 10 lanes of traffic over the harbour – three motorway lanes in each direction, two lanes for local traffic, and two shoulder lanes for buses. The NZTA estimates that the improvements will deliver journey savings of up to 20 minutes between the Auckland cbd and Auckland International Airport at peak times.
The duplicate bridge was officially opened yesterday [Sunday] seven months ahead of schedule by the Prime Minister. The ribbon cutting was followed by a community day that attracted over 16 thousand people using the opportunity to walk and cycle over the 650 metre-long duplicate bridge.
“It is an absolutely fantastic response – one of the biggest turnouts we have in Auckland for an event like this,” says Mr Parker. “The NZTA and our partners in the alliance that built the duplicate bridge all recognise that the support we have had from local communities played a huge role in being able to complete the job so far ahead of schedule. We were blown away by the turnout, and we want to thank everyone who took the opportunity to see the bridge close up.”