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First new Waitaki bridge scheduled to open within four months

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The first of the two new bridges being built over the Waitaki River at Kurow is scheduled to open in March next year, a year after work began on the $20.1 million project.

Work on both bridges is progressing well, with the smaller of the two two-lane bridges expected to be carrying traffic within four months, says the NZ Transport Agency's Canterbury/West Coast Highway Manager Colin Knaggs.

"Once the bridge is completed in March, it will be opened for traffic and work will begin deconstructing the first of the 132-year-old single-lane timber bridges."

He says installation of the structural steel is completed and work is scheduled to begin within the next few weeks installing the bridge's precast concrete deck.

Meanwhile, work is continuing on the piling, pier and pier head construction for the second and longer of the two bridges on the Hakataramea side. This is expected to be completed mid-March for work to begin installing the structural steel.

The second of the replacement bridges is scheduled to open before September 2014.

Mr Knaggs says the second of the 132-year-old timber bridges will then be deconstructed, two sections of which will be retained and permanently displayed on Kurow Island. The remainder of the material will be gifted to the Waitaki and Waimate district councils and the Department of Conservation for disposal for historic and community projects.

Construction of the new bridges has provided up to 20 new jobs in the Kurow area and boosted the local economy.

Editor's note: The two new two-lane bridges being built on State Highway 82, between Kurow and Hakataramea, replace two ageing single-lane timber bridges over the Waitaki River and are part of the Transport Agency's $1 billion programme of investment in Canterbury's transport network from 2012 to 2015.

Waitaki River bridge.

Caption: Installation of the structural steel on the first of the two new bridges being built over the Waitaki River at Kurow is completed, the bridge scheduled to open in four months.

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