We’re ready to begin work
18 Dec 2020, 9:00 AM
A blessing was held at the site of the new overbridge on Thursday to mark the beginning of the construction phase for Waitomo District Council’s (WDC) Te Ara Tika project.
The blessing was led by Reverend Barney Winikerei who delivered a karakia to bless the land, the people and machinery who will work on constructing the bridge.
Mayor John Robertson said, “Mana whenua have been an important part of the project journey, and it was important for us that we did things properly and start the construction phase off on the right foot.”
The blessing was attended by approximately 50 people, including local iwi and hapu members, Mayor Robertson, WDC Councillors and staff, representatives from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Calibre engineering who designed the bridge, Fulton Hogan who will build it and members of the public.
Following the blessing attendees were invited to the Les Munro Centre where they heard more about the project, including the meanings behind the weaving patterns which will be etched onto the bridge and the associated stories which describe some of the significant historical moments, landscape features, and people.
“I’m pleased everyone, including our project partners, could hear what the bridge will mean to the community. Not only will it improve pedestrian access, but it will also showcase local culture and the history of our local people. It’s going to be something pretty special”, said Mayor Robertson.
The blessing cleared the pathway for onsite work to begin and shortly after, WDC staff removed the Meads Brothers boards which will be stored by Council until a decision is made about their future. Surrounding trees which fall in the construction zone will also be removed this week.
The name of the bridge ‘Te Ara Tika’ was chosen in consultation with Ngati Rora and means ‘the right pathway’.
“A lot of effort has gone into the cultural aspects of the bridge. By incorporating these elements into the design it will increase knowledge of our rich history as well as becoming a cultural attraction for travellers,” added Mayor Robertson.
The bridge design will feature a 2.4m wide path, allowing for scooters to pass, with contemporary railing aimed at safety and visibility, and improved access to Rora and Carroll Streets.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency are funding 73% of the cost of the project. Waikato System Manager Cara Lauder said, “Waka Kotahi is pleased to help fund construction of Te Ara Tika. Supporting better walking and cycling connections within our communities is an important part of what we do and Te Ara Tika will be a vital link for the Te Kuiti community.”
Fulton Hogan will begin on site construction on 12 January 2021, which is expected to take 75 working days to complete. Landscaping and carparking will follow with a project completion date of late May 2021.
During construction the bridge will be closed to pedestrians and alternative routes will be in place.
Click here for more information about the project.