An innovative solution has been found for the State Highway 30 Kōpaki rail overbridge, which will enable it to remain open to cars only.
This morning two chicanes are being installed at the northern and southern approaches to the bridge. Each chicane requires drivers to weave between the barriers at a crawling speed.
“We have deliberately made this chicane tight and difficult to navigate so that only cars without trailers can get through,” says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations, Rob Campbell.
“Wider, longer or towing vehicles, even if they weigh less than 6 tonnes, will need to take the detour.”
Last week Waka Kotahi announced that due to its deteriorating condition and the persistent breaching of its weight limit, the bridge would have to close to all traffic*. Since then local contractor Inframax has come up with the unorthodox chicane solution.
“It’s extremely unusual to be installing a physical barrier such as this on a state highway, however we’ve seen over the past year that some drivers don’t respect weight restrictions, which means physically restricting access across the bridge is the only option to maintain some level of access for the local community.
“But if the barriers are interfered with, or other issues arise we will have no option but to revert back to a full closure of the bridge,” says Mr Campbell.
*Media release: SH30 Kōpaki Bridge to close to all traffic (1 December 2022)