The Ashburton River/ Hakatere Bridge, which is currently open to light vehicles* only, will close at 6 pm tonight for two hours for the completion of pier stress testing.
This is needed to decide if the bridge is able to safely take trucks, until repairs are completed on the sunk pier, says Pete Connors, System Manager, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
One pier was found to have sunk by around 130 mm yesterday morning as a result of the extreme 1-in-100-year-floods. This required a full day bridge closure for the first round of dead load testing to be organised, monitored and undertaken. The bridge reopened to light traffic only late last night.
“We need two more hours of testing tonight to decide if trucks will be allowed on the bridge alongside light traffic, like cars.
“We understand this places pressure on people to get home in time if they live on the other side of the bridge. We apologise to anyone who has to take the additional detour on local roads, or delay their journey until 8 pm to use the bridge.
“Once we have this information, we will be in a good position tomorrow to make a decision on the truck access.”
After 8 pm, the bridge will still be restricted to light vehicles only.
Local detours for trucks are available via the Ashburton District Council’s web pages.
There is no access for pedestrians or cyclists at this stage.
*Light vehicles generally weigh less than 3.5 tonnes and are mostly driven by Class 1 driver licence holders.
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