An impression of the new bridge over the southern stream of
the Waitaki River, one of two being built between Kurow and
Hakataramea on State Highway 82 to replace single-lane
bridges. Graphic by NZTA.
After decades of waiting, Waitaki Valley residents will
finally see concrete evidence from early next month of two new
bridges being built to cross the Waitaki River between Kurow
and Hakataramea on State Highway 82.
An $18.5 million project by the New Zealand Transport Agency
(NZTA) will replace the 132-year-old twin wooden single-lane
bridges with two concrete two-lane bridges.
A special event is being planned to mark the start of
A start on the project will begin to ease fears the old
bridges could be so badly damaged in flooding they would
close, fuelled by a lengthy closure in February 2011.
Part of the NZTA's $1 billion programme of investment in
Canterbury's transport network from 2012-15, the bridges will
take about 18 months to build.
The NZTA's southern regional director, Jim Harland, said the
two ageing bridges had reached the end of their life.
''These single-lane bridges were opened in 1881 and, with a
combined length of 762m, were one of the largest wooden
structures of their kind in New Zealand.
''The predominantly timber structures have been deteriorating
and are no longer suitable to serve the needs of the local
community, being vulnerable to closure during peak river
flows and unable to carry oversized agricultural machinery,''
The new bridges would provide a reliable alternative route to
State Highway 1.
They would be built immediately downstream from the existing
bridges and each would have a barrier-separated pathway for
cyclists and pedestrians.
''Safety has been a strong focus with this project,'' Mr
''This is an important route, not only for the local
community to access services and for the distribution of
supplies to the surrounding rural community, but also for the
growing number of tourists and visitors heading inland
through the Lindis Pass or the Mackenzie Country.''
Contractor McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd will be on site
from early next month to begin building the bridges, which
are expected to open late next year.