Te Puke Highway will be closed for one month from Tuesday January 15 until mid-February for installation of a culvert and some road pavement repair.

The closure, from Welcome Bay Rd to Bell Rd, is timed to ensure the work is completed before the start of the kiwifruit harvest season and before the new school year begins. Enabling work will begin on January 8 but will not affect traffic flows.

During the closure traffic will be detoured via Bell Rd/Parton Rd and Tara Rd, which will add about two minutes to the journey time to and from Te Puke. A temporary roundabout will be in place at the Bell/Parton Rd intersection. The detour will be well sign-posted and motorists have the option of using the tolled Tauranga Eastern Link.

The culvert is about 250m south of Welcome Bay Rd. It has become damaged over time and is at risk of failure. The difficult geo-tech nature of the sub-soils around the culvert has necessitated the complete closure of the road, said Western Bay of Plenty District Council Infrastructure Services group manager, Gary Allis.

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"In order to replace the culvert we need to excavate about 30m in length of the road and to a depth of around 5m. It will take about a month to carry out the work which will be completed before the school year begins so the road is fully open prior to the kiwifruit season."

The work was being done by Fulton Hogan on behalf of Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). It was fully funded by NZTA as part of the agreed works when Te Puke Highway was transferred to Council from NZTA. Council apologised for any inconvenience caused by this work.

Te Puke Highway between Bell Rd and Welcome Bay Rd will be closed to all traffic. Residents will be provided access to properties from the Bell Road end of the closure only.

Traffic will be diverted via Bell Rd, Parton Rd and Tara Rd, see detour map.