One of the longest single lane bridges on the West Coast to Canterbury highway (State Highway 73, Arthur’s Pass) is about to get repaired, starting mid-April 2016.
The repairs to the Bealey Bridge and one of its abutments will take about three months to mid-July and will involve some night-time full closures.
“Trucking company operators and other regular users of this highway are being kept closely informed,” said Lee Wright NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager. “Thanks to all drivers for building in extra time and being patient on this important link between the West Coast and Canterbury.”
There will be 20 minute closures from 8 pm to 10 pm on Saturday, 16 April, followed by a full road closure from 10 pm to 4 am, then 20 minutes closures after that between 4 am and 8 am Sunday morning.
Traffic lights will control movements of vehicles at each end during the repairs and drivers will need to slow to 30km/h. There will be delays of up to ten minutes at a time. Overweight and over-dimension vehicles will still be permitted to use the bridge during the repairs as they normally would.
The Bealey Bridge repair works require the use of a temporary Bailey bridge on the West Coast side of the river. The temporary Bailey bridge will be built on the road verge and then swung into place on the night closure to reduce delays. (See Youtube link below.)
This will take the pressure off the bridge’s abutment for it to be repaired. Once it is repaired, the same process will operate in reverse with the Bailey bridge removed during an overnight closure and traffic redirected onto the existing bridge afterwards.
Repairs to the bridge start on Friday 15 April and will run until mid July.
For the night of 16 April – a Saturday night, there will be 20 minute closures from 8 pm to 10 pm followed by a full road closure from 10 pm to 4 am, then 20 minutes closures after that between 4 am and 8 am Sunday.
For the other nights over that weekend – 15 and 17 April, Friday and Sunday night, there will be 20 minute closures between 8 pm and 8 am.
In June and July there is likely to be a repeat of the night-time closures. These will be advertised closer to the dates.
The Bealey Bridge, 265 metres long, is about 9 km south-east of Arthur’s Pass village, across the Waimakariri River in the upper Waimakariri Valley. It was originally opened in 1936. Papers Past contains some interesting information about one way people got across the Waimakariri before the bridge existed – by ferry.
You Tube video of a Bailey bridge installation: Note this is using a cantilevering system to move the Bailey bridge into position, not the lift into place method that will be used on the Bealey Bridge’s temporary bridge, which will reduce delays. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOrGv8S5yjE&sns=em(external link)