Mangawara Bridge Project Close To Completion
The new Mangawara Bridge is due to be open to the public by the end of May.
The single-lane bridge, linking Watts Grove in Taupiri to the northern bank of the Mangawara Stream, will provide safe passage for pedestrians and vehicles to and from the Taupiri Urupa, scenic reserve and properties.
At the moment, there’s a lack of suitable pedestrian access resulting in illegal use of the nearby KiwiRail bridge to get to the urupa and scenic reserve.
The uncontrolled rail crossing near the dangerous vehicle access point to State Highway 1 has poor visibility and has been the site of recent incidents.
The new bridge itself, built by Emmetts Construction, is complete but there are a number of ancillary works to be finished by the Waikato District Alliance team over the coming weeks.
Improvements to Watts Grove continue, with the main task of laying chipseal on the road having been completed on the weekend.
And work continues on the urupa side of the bridge, where the road base is being prepared for chipsealing.
There are other minor works to complete such as suitable guardrails either side of the bridge and some topsoiling and planting to be done.
A date for the official opening of the bridge is still to be decided.
Under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 which is anticipated to start next week, it is unlikely that a celebration worthy of such a significant project to the people of the Waikato District will be able to be held.
A karakia will be performed prior to the opening of the bridge to the public, with a suitable commemoration to be held at a later date when Alert Level restrictions allow it to happen.
There’s been talk about the need for a suitable crossing point over Mangawara Stream since 1920. After a number of attempts, investigations and discussions over the past 100 years, a collaborative stakeholder group came together to make it happen.
Waikato District Council, Waikato-Tainui, NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail are funding this project, worth in the region of $3 million, with additional funding provided by the Waikato River Authority. The stakeholder group was also supported by the Taupiri Urupaa Komiti, Taupiri Community and Taupiri Marae.
“The new bridge is welcomed by our Council and the community as the existing pedestrian and vehicle access to this extremely significant place is not safe,” says General Manager Service Delivery Roger MacCulloch.
“The new bridge is a wonderful asset and we are very pleased how our partnership with the other key stakeholders has led to this magnificent bridge providing safe passage to a culturally important place in our district.”