The NZ Transport Agency has announced that the contract to design the Hairini Link Maungatapu underpass has been awarded to Beca.
NZTA's Bay of Plenty state highways manager, Brett Gliddon said Beca's team will develop the design for the $55 million underpass which will connect Welcome Bay Road and State Highway 2a underneath the Maungatapu roundabout.
"The award is for professional services; Beca will be responsible for the design and also help us to prepare the construction tender contract documents."
Mr Gliddon said as part of the Professional Services contract, Beca will also assist the NZTA with the construction tender.
Once the specimen design has been finalised, the contract to construct the underpass will be put out to tender.
At this stage with all going well, Mr Gliddon anticipates construction of the Maungatapu underpass to commence at the start of 2014/15.
"It will take approximately three years to build the Maungatapu underpass at an estimated cost of $55 million."
The underpass was identified as the most effective option to improve congestion at the Welcome Bay/Hairini and Maungatapu roundabouts.
Over the last four years improvements have been made including installing lights at both intersections to manage highway traffic along SH29 and local traffic from Welcome Bay and Ohauiti Road.
SH29 is an important route for trucks transporting goods to the Port of Tauranga and SH2A is the main connection for the Welcome Bay community to the CBD, the underpass will separate local and highway traffic improving congestion, safety for all road users and reduce travel times, Mr Gliddon said.