Factory Rd bridge widening to two lanes approved
The busy single-laned Factory Rd bridge will be widened to two lanes thanks to $2 million in Government funding.
Timaru District Council's land transport manager Andrew Dixon said the 173m single-lane bridge over the Orari River needed to be upgraded to two lanes due to increasing freight and transport pressure.
"The bridge has become a key route for milk tankers travelling to the Clandeboye dairy factory," he said.
"It's become a safety issue ... motorists are coming into contact with not just freight, but also farm machinery. There have been a couple of near-misses in recent times."
The single-lane bridge was built in the 1960s.
The project will cost $3.2m, of which the New Zealand Transport Agency will provide $2.07m.
Mr Dixon said the council had been aware of the need to upgrade the bridge since 2007. "It's been on the books for a while, but it's only recently we've managed to get all of the paperwork signed off."
NZTA planning and investment manager Bruce Richards said up to 1400 vehicles travel along Factory Road daily at peak summer periods, of which 35 per cent were heavy vehicles.
Mr Richards said the bridge-widening project was part of the agency's priority of moving road freight on fewer vehicles.
Once complete, the newly-widened bridge should be able to support 100-tonne vehicles.
"There are not many of that size around outside of some on private roads in Waikato ... but bigger vehicles are becoming more common in general," Mr Dixon said.
NZTA's technical and economic reports in January 2010 recommended the widening of the existing Factory Rd bridge, while the design was funded in 2012.
The council will put the project out to tender in February, with construction to begin in May. Mr Dixon said the project should be complete by the end of 2015.
It is the most expensive of the council's approved roading projects. However, Mr Dixon said there were also long-term plans for a $4m overbridge at North St, which would take the place of the Heaton St railway crossing.
- © Fairfax NZ News