The local community turned out in force recently for the opening of the second and last of the two new dual lane bridges that the NZ Transport Agency has built over the Waitaki River on State Highway 82 at Kurow.
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean opened the bridge in a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony attended by more than 400 guests, including Waitaki District Council Mayor Gary Kircher, Waimate District Council Mayor Craig Rowley and the Transport Agency's Southern Regional Director Jim Harland.
Mr Harland says with both new bridges now open it heralds a new era in road transport for the Waitaki Valley.
"These bridges not only provide the Kurow and Hakataramea communities with a secure road link over the Waitaki River to access employment and essential services but also support economic growth in the region.
"This is a key regional and freight route. These new bridges are designed to safely and efficiently carry larger and heavier freight vehicles, as well as providing a safe and reliable alternative route if State Highway 1 60km downstream of Kurow is ever closed."
He said with a safety a priority with this project, it’s great that both bridges feature a barrier-separated pathway for cyclists and pedestrians.
"It gives local people the option of walking or cycling safely between the two communities and also supports the areas tourism industry, by providing a safe route for cyclists keen to visit the Waitaki Valley and explore all that is has to offer."
By the end of this year, all the work on this will be completed and two spans from the old timber bridges on permanent display on Kurow Island, preserving a unique part of the area's history.
These two new two-lane bridges, replace the two ageing 133-year-old single-lane timber bridges. The $20.1 million project is part of the Transport Agency's $1 billion programme of investment in Canterbury's transport network from 2012 to 2015.
Some of the large crowd that checked out the second of the new Waitaki Bridges on SH82 near Kurow.