People who drive at night between the West Coast and Canterbury on SH73, the Arthur’s Pass route, may face delays between Jacksons and Kumara from Sunday night, 6 December, until Saturday night, 12 December.
The Taipo River Bridge, between Turiwhate and Jacksons, is being closed for a major guardrail safety upgrade, replacing the wooden side rails with steel guardrailing, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
The road will be closed between 10pm and 6am each night, but will open on the hour every hour to allow traffic to pass. People could have a 50-minute delay if they arrive outside of that top of the hour opening, says Waka Kotahi Maintenance Contract Manager Moira Whinham.
An alternative route is available using the Lake Brunner Road via Inchbonnie and Moana to Greymouth, however this can add up to 35 minutes to the journey south of Greymouth.
This work is part of the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme with $5 million allocated to upgrade the guardrails at five West Coast single lane bridges. The Taipo River Bridge work will cost around $800,000 and is being completed by Fulton Hogan West Coast.
“Te Tai o Poutini/ the West Coast has the greatest number of single lane bridges in New Zealand, with around 50 on the state highway network,” says Moira Whinham.
Installing or upgrading guardrails on single lane bridges will reduce the risk of run-off road crashes leading to deaths and serious injuries.
The West Coast single-lane bridges proposed for safety upgrades are SH73 Taipo River (currently timber railing), SH6 Mikonui River (timber railing), SH6 Wanganui River (timber rail and approach guardrail), SH6 Moeraki River and Whakapohai River (both pipe/ hollow metal rail). The remaining work will be tendered in the coming months and be completed by late 2021.
Waka Kotahi thanks all drivers who might be inconvenienced by these night closures for their patience while this safety work is done ahead of the holiday period.
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