Construction of a new bridge is underway on the Forgotten World Highway, east of Stratford, as part of a package of improvements aimed at boosting local tourism and economic activity in the area.
Associate Minister of Transport, Kiri Allan said it was exciting to see the bridge project get underway.
“The Forgotten World Highway is not only an iconic tourist route, but also an important link for mana whenua, local communities, and businesses,” said Ms Allan.
“The bridge is part of a $30m investment by the Government towards improvements for the Forgotten World Highway that will attract more tourists to the area and boost economic activity by an estimated $35 to $45 million, helping to create new jobs in the area.”
The existing one lane bridge, which was built in 1908, will also be repurposed as a historic walking and cycling route which means commuters will have even more travel options.
The new bridge is expected to be complete by early 2024 and will be built to better accommodate increased traffic volumes and freight. New straighter alignments will be created approaching the bridge to reduce the risk of crashes, increasing safety for locals and visitors, the Minister said.
“It’s estimated these improvements will bring 13,000 more visitors to Taranaki each year, and encourage more people to travel from Tongariro National Park through to Egmont National Park,” she said.