Work is well underway on earthquake strengthening the Rakaia Gorge bridge in Mid Canterbury and replacing its deck, says the NZ Transport Agency.
Scaffolding has been installed on the State Highway 77 Rakaia Gorge No. 1 Bridge in recent weeks in preparation for the main work, which will take place both day and night.
“Teams are due to start soon on the major works with longer delays for road users and night closures,” says Jess McFarlane, Network Manager for the Transport Agency.
The timetable for the longer closures and night closures has now been confirmed:
Week starting Monday, 9 July: Up to 20 minute stop/go delays during dayshift works (7am – 5.30pm, Monday - Saturday). The road will be open for 10 minutes on every hour and half hour. For example, the road will be open from 7.00am-7.10am, then will close and reopen from 7.30am-7.40am, with all traffic cleared at each opening.
“The work crews will do their best to minimise delays during the peak ski field traffic times,” says Miss McFarlane. “The alternative for anyone travelling from Christchurch to Mount Hutt is to go via SH1, Ashburton, to avoid delays in the gorge.”
Week starting Sunday, 15 July: As well as the daytime closures outlined above, night closures will start this week. The road will be closed from 10pm to 5am Sunday nights to Friday nights inclusive. No vehicles will be permitted through the site during this time. A detour is available via SH1 (see the map below). This work is scheduled to take approximately six weeks to near the end of August.
Electronic signs near the site are advising road users of these upcoming night closures.
Miss McFarlane also requested drivers slow down on the bridge while this work is underway. “Our contractor has noticed a number of vehicles speeding through the site well in excess of the 30km/h restriction. Please slow down through the work site. The bridge movement caused by faster vehicles makes the work underneath the bridge much more difficult, and puts work crews at risk.”
The detour route for this closure: