New northern outlet ramping up behind scenes

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 13/08/2014

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While there is no sign of the $16 million roadworks under way on New Plymouth's northern outlet, there's plenty of work going on behind the scenes, says the New Zealand Transport Agency.

"Work is well under way to prepare for construction of the Vickers to City Upgrade and while there isn't anything to be seen yet, work behind the scenes is going at full tilt," regional highways manager David McGonigal said.

And it won't be long before residents and road users start seeing activity, he said.

A key part of construction is preparing the necessary plans to ensure that when the diggers and dozers move in, disruption will be kept to a minimum.

"We share the community's eagerness for the physical works to get under way and we're also keen to do it in a way that causes as little disruption as possible, so we're taking the time to prepare for the work ahead.

"In coming months, people will see work really ramp up, and the project will gradually begin to take shape.

"This project will transform how we travel in and out of New Plymouth, and it's hugely exciting that we're rolling our sleeves up to make it happen."

An example of the efficiencies is preparing concrete bridge beams offsite. "This work is already under way, and while this isn't seen, it means the bridge can be built more swiftly.

"Once the foundations are ready the beams can be manoeuvred into place rather than waiting for them to be made."

The first signs of activity that people will notice are plants, shrubs and trees being removed from around Waiwhakaiho Bridge later this month, he said.

"This will make space for a work site to be set up in mid-September. Plants and shrubs and the cycle bridge will also be removed in mid-September at Te Henui bridge.

While the new bridge is being built, a shared walking and cycling path will be set up on the existing bridge.

"It's crucial that we safely remove the plants, shrubs and cycle bridge and avoid as much disruption to the community as possible."

McGonigal said when there was a project such as this, there would be delays while the work was done "so we wanted to express our thanks in advance for everyone's patience".

"We're also shortly going to be a visible feature of your community so we plan to keep everyone updated on our activities so you can move around the city as smoothly as possible."

However, the benefits will be worth the wait, McGonigal promises.

"This is Taranaki's busiest corridor and while we expect some disruption during the construction, we know that once it's completed the community can look forward to shorter trips, fewer crashes and the luxury of having a much clearer idea of how long your trip will take."

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Construction of the Vickers to City Upgrade is due to be completed in early 2016.

Further information on the construction schedule will be issued next month.

- Taranaki Daily News

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