Rakaia River bridge repairs coming up


Mid Canterbury’s Rakaia River Bridge, SH1, the longest road bridge in New Zealand at 1.7km long, is about to get some repairs. The repairs are needed because people drive into the sides from time to time.

Rakaia River bridge with no traffic on it and metal wire temporary fencing in place of missing concrete barrier panels.

Missing and damaged concrete panels on the Rakaia River bridge, due to car crashes, with temporary covers.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency crews will be working on the bridge for several nights mid-December, overnights, to minimise disruptions.

“As well as fixing damage to the side panels from crashes, other repairs to the bridge will be completed before the summer peak traffic period,” says Barry Stratton, Maintenance Contract Manager for the Transport Agency in Canterbury.

These include:

  • Repairs to an expansion joint which can only occur in the warmer months and when we have low numbers of vehicles on the bridge.
  • Asphalt surfacing on the bridge.
  • Smoothing repairs at the bridge north abutment, where the bridge connects to the highway.

The work will be taking place on Saturday, 14 December 8pm to 6am (on 15 December).

  • Then Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, 15, 16, 17 December, 10 pm to 6am.

Several repair teams will be working at the same time on the bridge to help reduce delays for road users.

“A pilot vehicle will guide traffic over the bridge at the scheduled openings at the top of each hour,” says Mr Stratton. “If we can manage more people across within the hour and get the work done safely, we will do so.”

Is the bridge suitable for over-dimension loads during these four nights of work?

Drivers of over-dimension vehicles will need to take another route or delay their journeys over these four nights’ work.

The freight industry has been consulted on these nights of restrictions.


  • Allow enough time for your journey. Consider if you can travel at a different time.
  • The detour via SH73 (Darfield road) and SH77 (Rakaia Gorge) is about 30-40 minutes longer. It may be quicker than waiting at the bridge.
  • If you do use the Rakaia River Bridge during these four night, please drive carefully, follow the pilot vehicle and follow the directions of the crew.
  • Wikipedia Rakaia River Bridge Wikipedia page:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rakaia_Bridge(external link)


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