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High river levels may lead to night time closure of Waitaki
Bridges at Kurow

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High river levels could see temporary night time closures of SH82 over the Waitaki River Bridges at Kurow beginning this weekend.

High river levels could see the temporary night time closures of SH82 over the Waitaki River Bridges at Kurow beginning this weekend.

NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has had a river flow monitoring programme for the bridges in place since flooding in 1995 weakened some wooden piers on the northern bridge.

NZTA Regional Highways Manager for Canterbury Colin Knaggs says the bridges are nearing end of their life and are particularly vulnerable to damage during high river flows. NZTA wants to ensure complete safety for public using the bridge at all times

“A decision on the night time closure of the bridges will probably be made on Sunday 17 May 2009 and will depend on predicted river flows at that time. The NZTA is working closely with Meridian Energy on monitoring river flows. These are expected to begin to rise over the weekend as excess water is released from the upper Waitaki hydro lakes following heavy rain. If river flows hit the 1500 cumecs mark the bridges will be closed between 7.00pm and 6.00am.

During river flows between 850 and 1200 cumecs the bridge is inspected daily, and between 1200 and 1500 cumecs inspections they are carried out twice a day in the morning and evening. Once the flows exceed 1500 cumecs, NZTA will have staff on the site during daylight hours, and the bridges closed at night.

Mr Knaggs says night time closures are necessary in these situations because it is impossible to monitor any sudden deterioration in the structures of the bridges that might seriously compromise the safety of vehicles using them. If the bridges are closed at night the nearest alternative river crossing is 70km away on SH1 near Glenavy. If night time closures of the bridges are necessary the NZTA will work with emergency services to ensure they can use the bridge if it is essential.

NZTA is currently working on plans to replace the 113 year-old bridges in 2014.

Information on the night time closures of the Waitaki Bridges at Kurow will be available on the NZTA’s Highway Info website at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link). or by phoning 0800 44 44 99.

For more information please contact:

Bob Nettleton
Regional Communications Advisor
T    03 951 3005   
M    021 954 928 
F    03 964 2855
E    bob.nettleton@nzta.govt.nz

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