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Testing times for SH99 Aparima Bridge


Strength testing has started, to see if the Aparima Bridge on State highway 99 in Riverton, could handle trucks weighing up to 50 tonnes.

Standard truck loads are currently limited to 44 tonnes, except those with the necessary permit and axle configuration to cart loads of up to 50 tonne. These 50MAX trucks can only operate on specified routes.

NZ Transport Agency Senior Network Manager Peter Robinson says, the tests are to see if it’s feasible to bring the Aparima Bridge up to the required 50MAX standard. The design of the 85 year-old Bridge means we need to confirm this before any works gets underway.

“As freight volumes grow, it is important more key highway freight routes are capable of carrying trucks up to this weight, to help reduce freight journeys by around 20%. This will enable more goods to be moved with fewer truck trips, helping to lift productivity and improve road safety.” 

Mr Robinson says scaffolding will be erected, so structural steel samples can be drilled and collected from certain non-critical areas of the bridge. These will be tested, so we can build a more complete picture of the ability of this bridge to be 50MAX rated.”

Apart from some minor hold-ups, when the scaffolding goes up and is removed, bridge users shouldn’t experience any major delays. All work is expected to be  completed by mid-April.

The bridge was earthquake strengthened in early 2014.


Photo courtesy of Catherine Hill, Riverton 

For more information please contact:

Bob Nettleton
Senior Communications Advisor
NZ Transport Agency

T: 03 951 3005
M: 021 954 928

The NZ Transport Agency works to create transport solutions for all New Zealanders - from helping new drivers earn their licences, to leading safety campaigns to investing in public transport, state highways and local roads.