Waitaki bridges ready in autumn

OLD AND NEW: The new Waitaki bridges at Kurow will have a rusty 'weathered' look.
OLD AND NEW: The new Waitaki bridges at Kurow will have a rusty 'weathered' look.

Worrying whether the twin bridges over the Waitaki River at Kurow will stand another flood season will soon be a thing of the past.

Construction of the two double-lane bridges, which replace the 132-year-old single-lane wooden structures which have come to the end of their economic life, is well on track.

The New Zealand Transport Agency's Waitaki Bridges project manager, Steve Proud, said several elements of the work on the $201 million project have been under way in recent months, with some already completed.

"Driving the seven piles that will support the longer No 1 bridge on the Hakataramea side of the river got under way late last year," he said. "The fourth pile was completed last week and work is under way on the fifth.

"The abutment on the Hakataramea side was also poured last week and work will get under way in 10 days putting in place the pre-cast concrete decking panels on the smaller bridge on the Kurow side."

Mr Proud said other work which had been completed included piling for the No 2 bridge and installation of the bridge crossheads, abutments and structural steel bridge sub-frame.

A 250-metre temporary work platform capable of carrying cranes and other heavy equipment is also in place alongside the No 1 Bridge, which Mr Proud says will play a key role in the construction of the new bridge as well as the demolition of the old one.

The bridges, due to open around March or April, are being built from weathering steel - a high-strength, low-alloy steel that forms a weathered, rusty look.

Mr Proud said the choice of weathering steel also reflected the heritage of the existing bridges and harmonised with the environment.

The Timaru Herald