West Coast bridge to reopen on Tuesday

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 13:51 06/01/2013
Rail bridge at Inangahua
Don Scott

WASHED AWAY: Rail bridge at Inangahua

The missing section on the north side of the Wanganui River bridge, in South Westland after it washed away on Wednesday.
ROYDON DICK
STRAIGHT CUT: The missing section on the north side of the Wanganui River bridge, in South Westland after it washed away on Wednesday.

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A flood-damaged West Coast bridge is on track to reopen next week.

Floodwaters from the Wanganui River this week knocked out a 40-metre section of State Highway 6 near Harihari, causing a long detour for holidaymakers.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) West Coast senior asset manager Mark Pinner said today ''good progress'' was being made on the reconstruction and the bridge would reopen on Tuesday, weather permitting.
Contractors began rebuilding the highway late yesterday.

"We have managed to divert flood waters away from the washout and that's allowed our contractors to get in and start work on the repairs," Pinner said.

''Our first job is to re-build the fill with gravel and rocks around the abutment or foundation supporting the bridge at north end, together with other preparatory works to ensure we get the highway re-opened as soon as possible.''

Work to divert the Wanganui River back on to its original course, under the middle of the 360-metre-long bridge, was continuing.

The highway reconstruction would be temporary and further upgrades required later, Pinner said.

''I am aware that the wait to get the highway re-opened is a frustrating one for people on the West Coast. This is a priority job for us, and we are working as quickly and as safely as we can to get the repairs finished," he said.

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