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Next step for Welcome Bay Underpass

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The NZTA has taken the next step towards completing the new Hairini Link/ Welcome Bay Underpass, lodging a Notice of Requirement with Tauranga City Council to designate the land required to construct the project.


When completed, the underpass will improve safety, reduce journey times and make the movement of freight more efficient along SH 29.


The Notice of Requirement (NoR) is required to be lodged before progress on the design and construction can be finalised.  The NoR is a formal request by the NZTA to Tauranga City Council to identify the land needed for the Hairini Link project in the council's district plan.


NZTA Bay of Plenty state highways manager Brett Gliddon says the project will involve construction of an underpass at the Maungatapu roundabout linking State Highway 2A with Welcome Bay Road. The project will see a new bridge and intersection constructed over the Kaitemako Stream area.  A considerable amount of earthworks will be involved to build the underpass structure at the Maungatapu roundabout.  The Hairini Link project construction phase is expected to take approximately three years to complete.


Mr Gliddon says the NZTA have been working closely with the Tauranga City Council in preparation to lodge the Notice of Requirement and the agency will continue to do so through the designation and consenting process.


The NZTA has spent several months preparing its application to council, which required an investigation to look at a preferred option for improving congestion at the Hairini and Maungatapu roundabouts.  A range of options were explored and in September last year the Minister for Transport announced the preferred option for this corridor was to construct an underpass at the Maungatapu roundabout.


"The underpass was deemed the best performing of all the options explored as it separates local traffic from state highway traffic, therefore reducing journey time, improving safety for road users as part of the our Safer Journeys strategy and making the movement of freight along SH29 more efficient," says Mr Gliddon. 


Once Tauranga City Council has designated the land for the Hairini Link project, Mr Gliddon says the agency will finalise its design of the new road and put the work out to tender.


At this stage the NZTA plans to commence construction in early 2015, with the cost for constructing the underpass currently estimated to be around $55 million.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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