The NZ Transport Agency’s bridge building projects in Northland have achieved another significant milestone, with the opening of a new bridge at Matakohe to one way traffic.
It follows the opening of the new two-lane bridge at Taipa to one lane traffic last Friday.
At Matakohe, the new two-lane bridge to replace the old Anderson Bridge opened to traffic at 1pm, with east-bound vehicles also travelling for the first time along 1.2km of the new State Highway 12 alignment.
Paparoa local Daniel Cooper was first to drive over the new bridge.
“It’s a bit different from the old one-way bridge. Very nice and very exciting to be first.”
At a dawn blessing, Te Uri O Hau kaumatua Hone Martin gave the new bridge its name Te Ao Marama Hou which effectively translates to “moving from the past into the future”.
The Transport Agency’s Senior Manager Project Delivery Chris Hunt says the new alignment and bridge are unsealed and may to be closed again to protect the road surface if there’s bad weather associated with Cyclone Oma.
“At this stage the bridge and alignment are only open to one-way traffic, heading east.”
“We urge motorists to drive with caution over the new alignment, don’t be distracted by the new environment and keep to the temporary speed limit.”
West-bound traffic will continue to follow the signposted detour just before Anderson Bridge and travel along Matakohe East Road before re-joining SH12.
“West-bound traffic will pass Matakohe School and drivers are reminded to take extra care, watch out for children and keep to the 50km/hour speed limit.”
In about two weeks, starting the week of 4 March, the new highway alignment will be extended another 600 metres towards the second new bridge that will replace Hardies Bridge.
The two new two-lane bridges and 2.5km road realignment will remove tight curves and short straights to improve safety on this section of the Twin Coast Discovery Route. The $26m project is expected to be completed mid 2019.
For more on the Matakohe Bridges Project, see www.nzta.govt.nz/matakohe-bridges