The highway between Te Puke and Papamoa will be closed for a month starting in the New Year.
The roadworks starting in January, will be for installing a new culvert along the highway.
“The culvert is a pipe jack design that is unable to be easily installed due to the geo-tech nature of the sub soils, hence the necessity to completely close the road,” says Infrastructure Services group manager, Gary Allis.
The main reason for closing the highway is for replacing the culvert, however at the same time the road pavement in the immediate vicinity will be rehabilitated.
The location of the culvert is about 200 meters south of Welcome Bay Road, and over time the road is the area has settled and has damaged the culvert.
“The timing and exact work programme may change as we are still in the planning phase,” says NZ Transport Agency Delivery Manager, Darryl Coalter.
“In order to replace the culvert we need to excavate about 30 meters in length of the road and to a depth of around five metres.
“It will take about a month to carry out the work, which is currently planned for early January. At this stage we are aiming to complete the majority of the work before the school year begins so the road is fully open prior to the kiwifruit season.
“We are in the process of investigating further options to shorten the length of time this section of the Te Puke Highway is closed.”
The proposed detour route is Bell Road/Parton Road and Tara Road, which will add approximately two minutes to the journey time to and from Te Puke.
No toll will be required for motorists travelling the detour route, although motorists can use the Tauranga Eastern Link if they chose to.
“We have investigated options of keeping a single lane open during the works, however, due to the size of the ground works needed, both lanes are required to be closed. The work will also be weather dependant,” says Darryl.
“A joint communication plan will be implemented by NZTA and the Western Bay Council once the dates are finalised,” says Gary.
“This will include media and variable message boards on the roadsides, giving plenty of notice to the detour and formal advertising of the road closure. The detour will be well sign-posted as occurred for the detour during the construction of the Welcome Bay/Te Puke Highway roundabout.”