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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Work to build a new two-lane bridge over the damaged Manawawiri Stream culvert at Toko, east of Stratford, gets started this week.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Linda Stewart says the project is part of a $23m package of improvements funded through the regional allocation of the NZ Upgrade Programme and the Provincial Growth Fund.

“Waka Kotahi has been working closely with its iwi partners and Stratford District Council to progress improvements for the iconic highway and was fortunate to have local iwi undertake a blessing at the Manawawiri Stream site ahead of construction recently.

“We are grateful for the invaluable input, guidance and support we are receiving from mana whenua as we progress projects across the Forgotten World Highway. We look forward to strengthening our partnerships as we continue to work together in coming years,” says Ms Stewart.

Ngāti Maru General Manager Anaru Marshall says Ngāti Maru is pleased with the increased development being carried out by Waka Kotahi on state Highway 43 between Stratford and Taumarunui.

“It’s an important, but often overlooked, thoroughfare into Taranaki and more and more people are using it and enjoying its uniqueness. Ensuring that those people are safe and secure as they travel through our rohe is paramount to us as mana whenua,” says Mr Marshall.

Stratford District Council Mayor Neil Volzke is also happy to see work on the highway progressing.

“This project is part of a larger package that will significantly improve the safety and driver experience along the SH43 route. We’re excited to see this work begin,” says Mayor Volzke.

The new bridge over Manawawiri Stream is expected to take six months to complete.

Towards the end of the month a temporary one-lane Bailey bridge will be installed alongside the existing bridge for traffic to use while the new bridge is built. The Bailey bridge will be suitable for all vehicles.

Traffic management, including a 30km/h speed limit and traffic lights, will be in place.

Other improvements planned for the Forgotten World Highway include sealing the 12km of unsealed road through Tangarakau Gorge, safety improvements, a new bridge at the Kahouri Stream and passing and wayfinding opportunities.

Representatives from local iwi, Stratford District Council, Consultants WSP and Emmetts Civil Construction along with local residents attended a blessing at the Manawawiri stream site recently

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