Tauranga's Harbour Link project completes the east/west link within the Central Corridor, a Smart Transport initiative to co-ordinate land transport developments in the Western Bay of Plenty sub region.
Beca was engaged as consultants to Tauranga City Council who initiated the project in 1997 and then the New Zealand Transport Agency when the link became a state highway.
The link was designed to alleviate the traffic congestion that has grown in parallel with Tauranga's growing population, and to accommodate further predicted growth in the region. It also delivers economic and social improvement to the Tauranga region by reducing travel time for commuters as well as providing more efficient and quicker access to and from the Port of Tauranga.
Beca completed the feasibility investigations, the Options Analysis and Designation of the corridor between 1997 and 2003, then developed the specimen design and gained the resource consent approvals in the 2003 - 2004 period. Following this, they managed the construction of the four-laning of Hewletts Rd (Stage 1), and then acted as principal's agent for Stage 2, preparations for which began in February 2007. This major stage involved four-laning of the bridge causeway, construction of a duplicate harbour bridge and a four-lane flyover crossing the Chapel Street isthmus.
The most visually striking feature of the project is the 466m long new harbour bridge, sitting alongside the original bridge that opened in 1988. However, from an engineering perspective, the 650m long viaduct that directly connects the two harbour bridges to Takitimu Drive is the more structurally interesting section, with its numerous on- and off-ramps. The new roadway has been retrofitted into the environment with due regard for the historical and recreational values of the area.
Harbour Link's official opening was on 20th December 2009 with the Minister of Transport, Steven Joyce, doing the honours.