The construction of two bridges across the Waitaki River
linking Hakataramea and Kurow will have a traditional start
A sod-turning ceremony has been organised by the New Zealand
Transport Agency for the two communities to celebrate the
start of the $18.5 million project on SH82.
The new two-lane concrete bridges, with provision for
cyclists and pedestrians separated from traffic, will replace
single-lane wooden bridges which are 132 years old.
The ceremony, on March 7 at 11.30am on the island
recreational reserve between the two bridges, is
traditionally held to herald the start of a major
It will involve Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean. Waimate Mayor John
Coles and Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton, along with the
agency's southern regional director, Jim Harland, and New
Zealand's general manager of contractor McConnell Dowell
Constructors Ltd, Roger McRae.
Mr Harland said the bridges were a significant lifeline for
the community and it was fitting the community shared in the
celebration to begin their construction, which would provide
the community with a more secure, safer route.
''The ageing bridges opened in 1881 and have reached the end
of their life.
''They are vulnerable to closure during peak river flows with
the spilling of the hydro dams and unable to carry over-sized
agricultural machinery which is critical for the prosperity
of this largely rural community,'' he said.
McConnell Dowell will move on site early next month to begin
construction of the bridges, which are expected to open in