Kurow prepares to christen first of new bridges

DECKED OUT: Newly placed bridge two decking on the Kurow side of the Waitaki River.
DECKED OUT: Newly placed bridge two decking on the Kurow side of the Waitaki River.

The first of the new Kurow bridges will be open in six weeks.

Construction is progressing to schedule, according to New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) project manager Steve Proud.

After the first bridge is opened in late March, deconstruction of the first of the two 132-year-old single-lane timber bridges will begin.

Two sections will become part of a permanent display on Kurow Island, which will act as an educational resource on the history of the bridges. The remainder of the material is to be donated to the Waimate and Waitaki district councils and the Department of Conservation for disposal and use in historic and community projects.

Waitaki District Council (WDC) roading network engineer Graeme Butler said some of its portion of the materials will be used to refurbish the Otiake and Birchwood No 2 bridges.

"Work is programmed to start in the first quarter of this year," he said.

"It is good to see the materials being used in this way."

While Mr Proud didn't have a definite date as to when the smaller bridge would be open to traffic, he said it would most likely be in early autumn.

"We will have more certainty in early March around the opening to traffic of the smaller bridge on the Kurow side. It's planned to hold a celebration at the time this bridge opens and this will involve the local community."

Mr Proud said work on the project was going as planned.

"The contractors, McConnell Dowell, are currently working on both bridges and reconstructing the adjoining roadway.

"On the Hakataramea side, driving of the second to last pile has begun. There are seven piles for this bridge. Completion of all columns and pier heads is on target to be completed in late March, with installation of the weathering steel bridge deck, from the temporary trestle, expected to begin early March."

Work began on the bridges, which have a price tag of $20.1 million, around a year ago and has so far created 20 new jobs in the Kurow area.

The Timaru Herald