Bay Link Project Update: 28 May 2021
Bayfair underpass underway on Bay Link project
Construction is underway on the first stage of the new Bayfair underpass, as part of the Bay Link project.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery, Jo Wilton, says it’s pleasing to have the underpass underway, knowing how much it means to the community.
“We recognise the importance the community places on having a crossing under the state highway, so getting the underpass underway is a significant step for the project.”
The new pedestrian and cyclist underpass is being built in approximately the same location as the former underpass. Following a recent traffic switch north of the Bayfair roundabout, which relocated traffic into the centre of State Highway 2, construction of the Bayfair and Matapihi underpass entrance portals has now begun.
The entrances to the underpass will be made up of two separate reinforced concrete portals. These will be connected by an open-air trench located under the new flyover bridge, north of the Bayfair roundabout.
The new underpass is scheduled to open for use on completion of the Bay Link project.
“We appreciate the community will be keen to use the new underpass at the earliest opportunity, however due to construction of the Bayfair flyover taking place directly above the open-air trench of the new underpass, this route will open when the flyover is finished and the project complete,” says Ms Wilton.
A balanced approach to safety and usage has been required as part of the planning for the design of the new underpass.
“Providing safe shared use for both pedestrians and cyclists, alongside the need for personal safety of all users, has been a key consideration for the new underpass,” says Ms Wilton.
The underpass entrance portals are approximately three metres wide by two and a half metres high. These are similar dimensions to the former underpass. The Bayfair side of the underpass will be approximately 18 metres in length and the Matapihi side approximately 12 metres with new access ramps.
To accommodate the underpass, the Bayfair flyover requires an additional bridge span, making it a four-span bridge. The open-air trench, located beneath the new bridge span, will be approximately four metres wide and 50 to 60 metres long with sloping sides.
Preparatory work for the new underpass has been underway since last August, when the previous underpass was closed for demolition. The new temporary signalised crossing was introduced, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to cross SH2 in a single movement.
Once the underpass entrance portals are complete, traffic will be shifted to allow construction of both the open-air trench of the underpass and the Bayfair flyover in the centre of SH2.
“It’s fantastic to move into the next phase of construction at the Bayfair end of the project. We appreciate that the underpass is a key link in Tauranga’s cycling network, which is regularly used by residents and school children walking and cycling between Tauranga City, Matapihi and the Bayfair and Arataki areas.”
People can follow the progress in coming months by visiting the Bay Link website: nzta.govt.nz/baylink or the Waka Kotahi Facebook page for Waikato and Bay of Plenty: facebook.com/NZTAWaikatoBoP
Images below: Artist’s impressions of the Bay Link cycling and pedestrian underpass.
1. Central space, 2. Bayfair end, 3. Matapihi end.