Work will get underway within two weeks on the project to replace the bridge across Reid's canal on State Highway 2 near Edgecumbe reports the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).
Rod James, the NZTA’s State Highway Manager, says the new bridge will improve safety and route security in an area that is vulnerable to flooding.
A $4 million contract was this week awarded to HEB Construction to build the bridge and upgrade nearby roads. A further $2 million will be spent relocating major services near the bridge and on other project related expenses.
“Because the bridge will be built in the same location as the existing 76 year old bridge, state highway traffic will be diverted along Western Drain Road, McCracken Road and Hydro Road for approximately eight months,” says Mr James.
“Before the traffic is diverted, the detour route will be upgraded to cope with extra traffic. The upgrade includes widening corners, improving signage and road markings, removing the unused rail overbridge on Hydro Road and installing street lighting at each end of McCracken Road. Speed on McCracken Road will be reduced to 80km/h while the detour is in place.
“We expect traffic will be diverted onto the detour route about mid July. Removal of the old bridge will then begin,” says Mr James.
The existing bridge on the important regional freight route and vital local connector road was damaged during the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake and again in the June 2004 flood.
The new bridge will be two metres higher than the existing bridge with 300 metre long ramps on each side. It will also be 3.8 metres wider and built to withstand a one-in-1000 year earthquake.