An upgraded detour connecting Taneatua and Whakatane on State Highway 2 re-opened today, with traffic being diverted onto the new route well ahead of the Christmas holidays, reports the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
Work to upgrade the existing detour which will bypass the rail overbridge on SH2 near Taneatua, commenced last month which included improving signage, realigning, smoothing, and paving and road markings.
The upgraded detour re-opened today with traffic being diverted onto the bypass road which has a permanent speed limit of 50km/h.
Brett Gliddon, the NZTA’s Bay of Plenty State Highway Manager, says the detour will mean traffic will no longer travel over the Taneatua Bridge on SH2 and the NZTA will permanently close the rail overbridge.
“Recent inspections of the 85 year old bridge, indicates it is nearing the end of its serviceable life and it will be permanently closed before it becomes a safety concern” says Mr Gliddon.
Mr Gliddon says the detour provides route security for those travelling along SH2 in the Eastern Bay of Plenty as it is a vital local connector for travellers from Taneatua to Whakatane as well as being an important regional freight road.
The construction of a long term solution to realign SH2 is likely to start later next year, says Mr Gliddon.