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A lift for key Westland Bridge

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The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will start work later this month to provide greater flood protection for the Waiho River Bailey Bridge on State Highway 6 (SH6) near Franz Josef Glacier.

NZTA West Coast Senior Asset Manager Mark Pinner says the work starting week commencing 23 May involves raising the Bridge to increase its clearance above the river. This will make it less vulnerable to flooding and help ensure the security of an important bridge on one of the regions key tourist and freight routes.

“The bridge will be raised one pier at a time in 300mm increments until it is 2.1 metres above its current height. This technique was successfully used 7 years ago to raise the bridge. The road approaches to the bridges will be raised by similar amounts.”

Mr Pinner said the bridge will remain open in the day whilst this work is carried out, with every effort made to minimise disruptions to road users. However, when the bridge is being lifted, speeds across the bridge will reduced to a 5km/hr, and trucks restricted to one on the bridge at a time. Over weight permitted vehicles will not be allowed at any time while this work is being carried out and those known to the NZTA who operate these vehicles have been notified.

Between 10pm and 5am the bridge there will be approximately 10 bridge closures, to enable construction of the higher abutments to occur. These closures will occur at approximately 2 to 3 days intervals.

The closure dates will be signed at the roadside in Franz Josef, and using our advance Variable Message Signs for traffic coming through the Region. Whilst no traffic will be able to access the bridge at the times of closure, access for emergency vehicles will be provided if required. The hours of closure are aimed to minimise the overall impact of the works, when traffic volumes are very low.
 
The work, costing $1.3m will take about six weeks to complete.

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