Traffic began using the Hawke's Bay Expressway - Meeanee Road overbridge for the first time yesterday as Transit New Zealand started the countdown to its official opening next week.
Last week, it was not expected any traffic would use the bridge until the opening on November 1, but the bridge has been opened to northbound traffic.
Project manager Mike Wong says motorists travelling towards Napier on the SH50 Hawke's Bay Expressway should use the overbridge instead of travelling through the existing intersection at Meeanee Road.
Expressway traffic heading to Taradale or Meeanee should exit at the new southern off-ramp and turn left or right at the new roundabout at Meeanee Road.
The Meeanee Overbridge has been built as part of the Meeanee Road Interchange Upgrade, which is scheduled for completion in December following two years of construction. Mr Wong says the project will improve safety and reduce congestion by separating SH50 Hawke's Bay Expressway traffic from local traffic using Meeanee Road.
Traffic just south of the intersection was last year counted at 20,000 vehicles a day, an increase of about 30 per cent in five years.
The bridge will be fully opened to both northbound and southbound traffic in early November, though work will continue to complete the project on the underpass, intended to be without further disruption of traffic on the Expressway.
Mr Wong thanks motorists for their patience as they get used to the new road layout.
The overbridge will be formally opened in a ribbon-cutting by Minister of Transport Annette King at 10am on November 1. Thursday, October 25, 2007 14:56