Affordable underpass proposed for Bayfair

The proposed route by Steve Morris.

NZTA’s decision to scrap a new Maunganui Rd pedestrian underpass between Bayfair and Matapihi has drawn flak from both Tauranga City Councillors and the community.

The underpass project, by government agency NZTA, raised eyebrows when forecast costs blew out from $13m to $33m; leading to its cancellation.

Now, Councillor Steve Morris has proposed a potentially more affordable solution.

“The NZTA project had the underpass going right under a 6m high ramp for the new Bayfair flyover. It’s no wonder the costs of engineering a solution, with the weight of all that earth on top of the underpass, became prohibitive.”

An example of a precast underpass from website.

Today, at a Council meeting, Cr Morris proposed an alternate route under the new Maunganui Rd roundabout which would sit under the aerial portion of the flyover.

“This route removes the need for them to overengineer an underpass to sit under the ramp.

“At 90m it would be longer; however, the cost would be significantly less," says Steve.

“I received a quote for a 90m underpass, 3 meters wide and 2 meters high made of precast concrete delivered to the site for $261,290 plus GST.

“Some underground services would need to be moved which could push the cost into seven figures, but this is far more cost effective than NZTA’s $33m solution and even the original $13m solution.”

Steve says the height and width could be increased to suit at little marginal cost.

Multiple pedestrian crossings and stop lights to replace the underpass as proposed by NZTA.

At the meeting, Steve asked for NZTA to provide Council with its options analysis for different locations for the underpass so that it could be examined by Council, the public and contractors.

Ross I’Anson, Acting Director of Regional Relationships Central North Island at NZTA, says he would take it to senior management to consider.

Steve says the underpass was a need, not a want, and that NZTA had to consider other routes because they were effectively severing Matapihi from Bayfair.

“People need to walk, cyclists need to get to town and NZTA’s fall-back position of multiple pedestrian crossings into a roundabout with stop lights calls into question whether the $120m Baypark to Bayfair link will do much to ease congestion."

Steve suggests other proposed solutions such as a pedestrian overpass would cost more, and either be located further away from Bayfair or need such long ramps as to put people with disabilities at risk which is why he favours an affordable underpass.

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Better and Safer

Posted on 23-07-2019 21:26 | By Yadick

Mark Wassung’s overpass far better and safer option. These dim, underground, urinated, graffitied ally’s can have potential for dangerous assaults. Overpasses are in the open.

Go Steve!!

Posted on 23-07-2019 17:41 | By myview

What a bit of lateral thinking can do, I’ve only just sighted this article but to me it’s got to happen this way. It’s crazy to otherwise to have crossings & lights across this new highway.

Underpass an essential need

Posted on 23-07-2019 15:50 | By Milo48

NZTA Need to put some serious work into an urgent redesign. The underpass is essential for public access to businesses and facilities around this intersection. It also gives access to Matapihi residents and those using the cycle route through Matapihi to the city. What is the problem, who pays NZTAs Bills? Do nothing is a crime and the Multiple Pedestrian crossing idea is NOT an option.

Bayfair underpass..

Posted on 23-07-2019 14:40 | By inthweedz

In the top pic showing the proposed underpass.. Why not have the tunnel entrance / exit coming out at the carpark on the Matapihi side , not on the golf club side.. Swing that yellow line towards Harvet Norman, and it looks almost the same length, as it is you still have to cross another busy road to get to the shopping centre..

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