The NZ Transport Agency this week approved $300,000 funding for the detailed design of a proposed safety upgrade for SH29 near Soldiers Road.
The section of highway included in the project has a high crash rate, poor sight distance (particularly at the intersections with Soldiers and Ngamuwahine Roads), and a narrow bridge. The recommended solution will improve safety and travel efficiency by straightening 1.35 km of the highway, building a new three lane bridge over the Mangakarangorengo River (replacing the existing Te Ahara Bridge) and widening the road pavement. As well as improving safety, the project aims to provide space for future upgrades.
The NZTA's Regional Director Harry Wilson says the design phase includes securing the designation in the district plan, conducting geotechnical testing, noise assessments and a safety audit to inform the design, gaining any consents required for construction, and preparing construction tender documents.
"This design phase will be completed by September. We will then apply for construction funding, and construction could be underway before the end of this year," says Mr Wilson.
State Highway 29 is a key freight route between the Waikato and the Port of Tauranga and an important connector route for commuters and tourists. It carries 9,500 vehicles per day, of which approximately 1200 are heavy commercial vehicles.