International consortium to restore New Zealand highway

The New Zealand Transport Agency has selected the Advance consortium, made up of Fulton Hogan, HEB Construction, Aurecon and WSP-Opus, to design and build the Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway project.

WSP-Opus said the US$415m project would replace a road through the Manawatu Gorge, restoring a route that has been closed since 2017, after landslides forced State Highway 3 to shut.

The 11.5km route will connect with State Highway 57 south of Ashhurst, State Highway 3 west of Woodville and a new bridge crossing the Manawatū River. Project enabling works will begin in September 2019, with construction to begin in 2020 and be completed in 2024.

Some 7,600 vehicles, including 1,100 trucks used the State Highway 3 gorge route every day while it was open.

Sarah Downs, New Zealand Transport Agency’s portfolio manager, said: "The decision in favour of the preferred alliance was made after a comprehensive tendering process, which commenced in September 2018.

"We had two strong tenders, both demonstrating excellent qualities, and selecting a preferred alliance partner was a difficult decision."

Peter Wiles, WSP Opus’ transport director, said: "Not only will Te Ahu a Turanga connect communities and deliver significant economic benefits when it opens in 2024, it will be an environmental, ecological and cultural exemplar."

Image courtesy of WSP-Opus

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