The NZ Transport Agency says it hopes to have a better idea by late this afternoon of what repairs are required to a flood damaged pier that has closed the Waitaki Bridges on SH 82 near Kurow until further notice.
NZTA Area Manager Colin Hey says the damaged pier on the north bridge will be inspected, river levels permitting, by a team of bridge experts who will arrive at the site this afternoon. High river flows and some debris from last months flooding are likely to have caused scouring around the pier.
"The inspection should provide a clearer idea of the options available to open the bridges again. Because of their importance to the state highway network, getting the bridges operational is a high priority, although the safety of road user has to come first".
Colin Hey says the understanding of road users and the local community is appreciated, as the closure means they face lengthy detours to get across the Waitaki River. These include using the bridge over the Waitaki River on State Highway 1 at Glenavy or travelling on State Highway 8 through Lake Tekapo and Fairlie.
Plans are in place to ensure emergency services in the area are not compromised by closure of the bridges.