Work begins on replacement $18.5 million Waitaki Bridges


Work will begin early next month building the new $18.5 million replacement Waitaki Bridges.

Image of Waitaki River bridge

A graphic image of the new bridge over the southern stream of the Waitaki River between Kurow and Hakataramea. Two new bridges are being built across the river.

Part of the NZ Transport Agency’s $1 billion programme of investment in Canterbury’s transport network from 2012-15, the two new bridges crossing the Waitaki River between Kurow and Hakataramea will take about 18 months to build and will provide the local community with a more secure route.

NZTA’s Southern Regional Director Jim Harland says the two ageing 132-year-old bridges have reached the end of their life. “These single-lane bridges were opened in 1881 and with a combined length of 762 metres, were one of the largest wooden structures of their kind in New Zealand.

“The predominately timber structures have been deteriorating and are no longer suitable to serve the needs of the local community, being vulnerable to closure during peak river flows and unable to carry over-sized agricultural machinery.”

He says the two new two-lane bridges, linking State Highway 82 with Kurow on the south bank and Hakataramea on the north bank, will provide a reliable alternative route to State Highway 1 for motorists to reach destinations north and south of the Waitaki River.

The two new bridges will be built immediately downstream from the existing bridges and each will have a barrier-separated pathway for cyclists and pedestrians.

“Safety has been a strong focus with this project,” Mr Harland says. “This is an important route, not only for the local community to access services and for the distribution of supplies to the surrounding rural community, but also for the growing number of tourists and visitors heading inland through Lindis Pass or the Mackenzie Country.”

Contractor McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd will be onsite from early next month to begin construction of the two new bridges which are expected to open late 2014.