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Sod-turning ceremony kicks off Maungatapu underpass build

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The NZ Transport Agency has released a 3D animation revealing each stage of construction of the Maungatapu underpass project, which gets underway in Tauranga next month.

The video gives an overview of the project showing detailed changes to the road layout which will take place during the next three years.

The Maungatapu underpass will be built on State Highway 29A underneath the Maungatapu roundabout and will connect to Welcome Bay Road. 

Along with the underpass, the project includes new cycle links and a cycle and pedestrian bridge above SH29A.

Work is set to start on the project in mid-September after Transport Minister Simon Bridges today turned the first sod at a ceremony onsite.

The Transport Agency’s Bay of Plenty highway manager, Niclas Johansson says the underpass will separate state highway and local traffic, reducing congestion at peak times and making travel safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

“This area is extremely busy, especially at peak times. The changes we are making will help ease congestion and improve safety now and into the future as Tauranga continues to grow,” he says. 

Mr Johansson says the Transport Agency will be working closely with the contractor and the community to minimise disruption during the project.

Information days will be held on September 11 and 12 to explain what will be happening at the site over the next three years of construction.  

“This is a complex project on a busy stretch of road and there will be extensive traffic management and changes to the road layout,” Mr Johansson says.

“Contractors will be working between 9am and 4pm to minimise delays during peak times but we are going to need everyone’s patience and understanding during construction.

“This project will make a difference and we are focussed on doing everything we can to minimise delays, but we are going to need everyone’s patience and understanding during construction.”

Earlier this month contractors began removing eight houses in Hammond Street in preparation for work to start. Over the coming weeks a new temporary access to Hammond Street will be built, along with a right-turn bay on SH29A and then the connection between SH29A and Hammond Street.

The existing Hammond Street and Welcome Bay Road intersection will be closed in early September.  Residential traffic will then only be able to enter from Tauranga in the newly created right-turn lane on SH29A

The temporary access out of Hammond Street will be left-turn only. Motorists heading to Te Maunga motorists will need to turn left and travel back around the Maungatapu roundabout.

The new temporary Hammond Street access will be in place for the duration of the project.

Once the Maungatapu underpass opens, the Hammond Street access will close and the Welcome Bay Road access will reopen.

The information days will be held at the Baden Powell Hall (39 Welcome Bay Road) from 2pm until 6pm on Friday September 11 and from 8.30am until 12pm Saturday September 12. People can attend anytime between these hours.

To sign up for regular updates on the project email:  hairinilink@nzta.govt.nz or for more information go to: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/hairini-link/(external link)

The 3D animation can be found here: https://youtu.be/qwG6yBvxqHM(external link)

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