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Underpass not included in Bay Link project

An artist’s impression of the new underpass. Image Supplied.

The NZ Transport Agency has announced that a new pedestrian and cycle underpass will not be constructed as part of the Baypark to Bayfair Link project (Bay Link).

NZ Transport Agency Senior Project Delivery Manager Andrew Thackwray says evidence gathered as part of the detailed design process has confirmed the construction of an underpass would be highly complex but also identified significant programme and extra contractual costs that exceed the available funding.

“In addition to the costs associated with the physical works, there would also be significant costs due to the additional time needed to build the underpass, and the traffic switches which would be needed to enable construction.

"We understand that this decision will be disappointing for many in the community, but a new underpass is no longer an affordable option in what is currently a highly constrained funding environment.”

Andrew says the total cost to complete the underpass has now been costed at $33 million, and the complexity of the work required would add more than two years to the construction timeline.

“Constructing a new underpass was not just about the tunnel under the highway but the structure also needed to support the massive weight of the bridge approach ramps above it, and the ground below all needed improvement to ensure stability and safety in an earthquake.

“Significant ground improvement works under the box structures are required to support the bridge approach ramps which was different from the assumptions at concept design. The high ground water table at this location would also pose significant challenges.

“The underpass would have had to be built in stages while moving traffic lanes back and forth to keep the busy state highway open to traffic. A complex staging sequence meant construction would have a significant impact on the potential costs and time to build the underpass.”

In November 2018, the Transport Agency announced a scope change to include a new pedestrian and cycle underpass following community feedback at the removal of the existing underpass.

The final costs to build the underpass were to be determined once the detailed design was complete.

“While we anticipated that including an underpass at this stage of the project would be expensive because of its complexity, it became unfeasible when the extra time and very significant cost was added to the existing contract."

Once the Bay Link project is complete, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross Maunganui Road using the signalised Bayfair roundabout.

At-grade crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists are included as part of the design for the roundabout, and cycle prioritisation through the roundabout will be factored into the phasing of the traffic lights.

The Bay Link project will now return to the original plan, which means the current underpass will close in September 2019 to allow for ground improvement works for the approach ramps to the flyover to be built.

Temporary signalised crossing points will be installed in proximity to the existing underpass on Maunganui Road to provide safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

For more information on the Bay Link project go to www.nzta.govt.nz/baylink

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5 Comments
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Behind the times

Posted on 09-07-2019 17:51 | By

Once again, our community is the loser by having a weak council and a Govt that doesn’t consider Tauranga important. Not only did the Project get awarded to a re-known poor performer, it’s way behind program, poorly managed traffic flow but now we don’t get what most people would call an important investment in public safety, city growth and god forbid, Common sense! Its a real joke the way both the Govt and our Council treat the people of Tauranga. Come on Govt and Council, do YOUR JOB and sort this rubbish out, if you can’t get out of the job and allow common sense to flow!!!!

Pedestrian way needed

Posted on 09-07-2019 12:48 | By woodb

This needs to be completed now. Give it to some school kids to sort through the design and costings to prove we are being ripped off.

Way to Go Tauranga Council

Posted on 09-07-2019 12:19 | By

I wish our Council would use these high rates wisely by taking the time to design and spend appropriately for the traffic issues now and which are only increasing on a regular basis.... this is called the very foreseeable future growth. No proper design for the volumes of traffic, which are already plentiful with users. People wishing to commute by foot/bike/scooters/skateboards not considered therefore neither is the environmental impact) Council appear to do the very minimum requirements/patch up jobs, not the most practical, logical or best use of tax payers dollars, medium or long term. Reduce our rates now! With the massive influx of new homes and business all over the BOP (and therefore substantial increases in the Councils coffers) ratepayers are not getting a good deal with how these precious funds are being invested/wasted with our vital infrastructure : (

How will people cross?

Posted on 09-07-2019 08:50 | By jed

This project is one of the most poorly designed I’ve seen, in a flood of recent poor designs. Firstly, why isn’t the new bridge 4 lanes ? Whoever thought a 2 lane bridge fed by 4 lanes at either end in the busiest part of the city would ever work? And, now no way for pedestrians to cross either.

Just wait for it !

Posted on 09-07-2019 08:35 | By The Caveman

The cycle/bike mob are going to go wild !!