Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the replacement of one-way bridges on Northland’s state highways has moved another step forward, with a contractor being appointed to carry out the works at Matakohe and Taipa.

A contract has been awarded to Fulton Hogan and Aurecon, who will jointly deliver the first part of the Northland Bridges programme, to replace two bridges at Matakohe and one at Taipa with two-way structures.

“These bridge upgrades are part of the Government’s commitment to invest in Northland’s State Highway network to stimulate economic growth throughout the region, improve safety and strengthen connections with the rest of New Zealand,” Mr Bridges says.

“The new bridge at Taipa will provide greater resilience during extreme weather events and improve safety as well as providing better connections along the Twin Coast Discovery route between the Bay of Islands and Doubtless Bay.”

The proposals also provide two traffic lanes as well as a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists.

“The replacement of the two bridges at Matakohe will improve safety for all road users. The narrow width of the current bridges causes delays during the busy visitor season which are linked to driver frustration and risk taking behaviours which can lead to crashes. For example, there were 15 reported crashes on or near the bridges between 2005 and 2014,” Mr Bridges says.

The improvements include a realignment of the state highway to remove the tight bends approaching the bridges. A new intersection for the iconic Kauri Museum will be built and cycling connections provided along the Twin Coast Discovery route.

Public consultation on the preferred alignment for both the bridges will take place in the first quarter of this year. This is in addition to the public feedback already collected following a series of open days in October last year.

Construction is expected to start later this year.

The construction contract also has provision to be extended to include the replacement of the Kaeo bridge.  Construction of this bridge is planned to get underway in 2018, subject to consents and property purchase.

The six remaining one-way bridges within the Northland Bridges programme are in the planning stage.

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