The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has confirmed further work will be carried out tomorrow, Thursday 3 March, to remove flood debris caught in about 20 piers on the Waitaki Bridges on SH82 near Kurow.
NZTA Area Manager Colin Hey says depending on what progress is made it may be necessary continue this work into Friday. While this work is underway, the bridges will be closed for short periods, but will open for five minutes on the hour and half hour throughout the day to allow traffic through. Work will start at 8.30am tomorrow.
“The work is a continuation of efforts that started last Saturday to shift debris from the piers of the bridges. A logging machine with a specially extended grab arm will be used to reach over the sides of the bridges to shift branches and small trees that have become stuck in the piers by recent flooding. Supporting the work of this machine will be a team of abseiling tree fellers who will work over the sides of the bridges to help free trapped debris.
Colin Hey says every effort will be made to remove the remaining debris tomorrow and reduce the pressure it is causing on the bridge piers. Heavy rain is predicted over the next few days in the head waters of the Waitaki River and is likely to increase river flows, so there may be only a limited window of opportunity to get this job finished.
Mr Hey added that the NZTA is aware of the impact on the local community caused by last months extended closure of the bridges, and asks for their patience, so remaining debris trapped in the piers of the bridges can be shifted.
Access across the bridges will be maintained for emergency vehicles while this work is being carried out.