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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Road users will notice a significant milestone on State Highway 1 through Whangarei this week, with the new Otaika Bridge at Tarewa Road starting to take shape.

Traffic has been diverted on to the new southbound lanes of the widened bridge for months. Until now, the northbound side has been just concrete abutments and clear air, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager Project Delivery, Andrew Thackwray.

Now the reinforced concrete beams that will support the bridge’s northbound lanes are being lifted into place. Over the last two nights, eight beams have been put in place. Each beam is 23 metres long and weighs 38 tonnes.

Another eight beams will be added over the next two nights. The beams are transported by road from a fabrication yard in Auckland.

Once the beams are tied into place, they will support the bridge’s concrete floor and eventually the final road surface.

“It’s taken a lot of work to get to this stage since we started nearly two years ago. Laying down the bridge beams signals that we’re starting the final push to complete the bridge, which is a central part of the project.”

A 38 tonne reinforced concrete beam is lifted into place on the Otaika Bridge in Whangarei

“From here, road users will start to see other changes. By the end of July, we’ll be constructing the footpath on the city centre side of the highway and we’ll be taking down the temporary scaffolding that’s supported a walkway on the other side.”

“We will also install the traffic lights and signage at the Tarewa Road intersection and start landscaping along the roadside.” 

The $17m upgrade of SH1/Tarewa Road is due for completion late September 2020. It includes widening SH1 and the Otaika Bridge to two lanes in each direction, signalised pedestrian crossings and intersection improvements to make it safer and more efficient for turning traffic. There will also be a new shared path under the bridge for those walking and cycling to and from the Whangārei Hospital, Northland Polytechnic and the city centre.

The project is the last of six within the Whangārei Improvements package to improve SH1 through Whangārei by easing bottlenecks and congestion and improving traffic flow and safety.

More on the SH1 Whangārei improvements (external link) 

“Waka Kotahi thanks motorists for their patience and understanding while we complete this significant project for Whangārei. We ask drivers to not be distracted while driving through the work area and keep to the temporary speed limits for the safety of our workers and other road users.”

More on the Tarewa Road/SH1 improvements(external link)

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