The NZ Transport Agency has formally appointed Downer New Zealand Ltd to carry out the construction of a new bridge over the Ōpaoa River in Blenheim.
Transport Agency South Island Director of Regional Relationships Jim Harland says the appointment marks a major milestone in the development of the bridge on State Highway 1, a critical transport link between Picton and Christchurch, particularly for freight, and for people in Marlborough to access central Blenheim.
“Investigations identified that the existing bridge was too narrow and unsuitable for current transport needs. The new bridge will make State Highway 1 more resilient to natural disasters and more secure as New Zealand’s key strategic freight route connecting the North and South Islands,” Mr Harland says.
Work is due to start in early September, weather dependent, following a blessing and ground-breaking ceremony with key stakeholders including neighbouring residents, iwi and business owners. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2020, including road realignment and landscaping.
The Transport Agency has budgeted $21 million to cover the cost of bridge construction. This figure also includes professional services and moving of the telecommunications cables in the vicinity.
The existing bridge, a Heritage NZ Category 1 Heritage Place, will be retained for pedestrians and cyclists.