The NZ Transport Agency has awarded the contract to replace the Whirokino Trestle and Manawatu River Bridge to the Fletcher Construction Company Ltd.
The two structures, located just south of Foxton on State Highway 1, are reaching the end of their economic lives and were built to outdated standards. This means all high productivity motor vehicles currently detour around 14km when driving through this area.
NZ Transport Agency Highway Manager Ross I’Anson says the primary purpose of the project is to improve efficiency, resilience and safety.
“This section of State Highway 1 is a vital link for the lower North Island, and improving its reliability is a key goal for the Transport Agency.
“Both structures require significant maintenance to keep them safe, and given their age and importance to the network, it’s time to focus our investment on replacing them with modern, efficient structures for the good of all road users,” Mr I’Anson says.
Other benefits of the project include:
- improved route security with stronger bridges
- safer bridges, with wider traffic lanes and shoulders
- improved cycling facilities
- reduced delays as a result of fewer closures required for overweight/overwidth vehicles, and for
- maintenance and minor repairs
- reduced maintenance costs.
The project cost is estimated at $70 million, which includes service relocation, design, property and construction.
Investigating replacing the structures was funded as part of the second tranche of the Government’s $115 million Accelerated Regional Roading Package.
The project has also been an opportunity for the Transport Agency to work closely with local iwi to recognise the cultural significance of the area. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Raukawa hapū of Manawatū, Rangitāne o Manawatū, and Muaupoko Tribal Authority Inc in an official ceremony on 9 September 2016. The project has allowed the Transport Agency to continue its close working relationship with Horowhenua District Council and the local community, in particular the town of Foxton which is likely to see positive economic spin-offs from the project.
Fletcher Construction will now finalise environmental management plans and a programme of work, before physical construction begins in 2017.
Source: NZ Transport Agency