The NZ Transport Agency is putting the Vickers to City road construction out to tender this week.
The stretch of road was in the news this weekend when a car accident closed the bridge and caused traffic to become gridlocked.
The roading upgrade, which would include a continuous four- lane highway from Bell Block to Hobson St, was expected to begin in the next three months and would be finished around August next year.
Regional highways manager David McGonigal said he was still waiting for resource consents to be granted by the Taranaki Regional Council and the Historic Places Trust.
"We note that securing consents is not a precondition of going out to tender, but it is a precondition of construction. We expect to go to tender this week, that way we'll be ready to get started as soon as possible, subject to the approval of consents."
The tender process would take about four to six weeks, depending on how many tenders were received, he said.
"Once the contract has been awarded, we expect to begin construction within a fortnight."
Mr McGonigal said he would have an idea how road users would be affected once a contractor had been appointed and the construction process was set out.
"Because the project involves building a second bridge, rather than widening the existing bridge, we do not expect major disruption for bridge users and all work will be specifically planned to minimise delays for the public."
A key purpose of the project was to reduce congestion, and therefore the NZTA was focused on keeping congestion to the minimum while the road was being built, he said.
"We appreciate that the congestion caused by last weekend's crash was frustrating. Once complete, this project will help to prevent similar incidents causing major delays by providing a second transport lifeline across the river with additional capacity."
New Zealand Fire Service Taranaki area manager Pat Fitzell said it wasn't just accidents that caused problems on that section of road. There were also problems during peak hour traffic.
"If worse comes to worst and we can't get across that bridge, we will bring in Waitara and Inglewood."
Hopefully work on the road would begin soon, he said.
"It will certainly move that traffic through which is good for us."
The Fire Service would have a contingency plan in place to deal with any hold ups caused by the road works.
- Taranaki Daily News
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