The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) says that work on removing the only remaining traffic fords on State Highway 1 will start this week.
Three fords that have carried hundred of thousands of vehicles over shingle fans alongside State Highway 1 about 40km north of Kaikoura for over 50 years, are being replaced by culverts.
Canterbury State Highways Manager Colin Knaggs says most of the time the fords have no surface water on them. However, during prolonged periods of heavy rain, sediment laden streams can start to flow across the fords, forcing traffic to use nearby ageing single lane detour bridges. This causes frustrating delays for road users and is unacceptable on what is one of the South Island’s major freight routes.
“The detour bridges that are used on average 28 days a year are nearing the end of their economic lives and would require costly repairs or replacement. Culverts provide a more enduring and affordable solution.”
Mr Knaggs says work on this project is expected to start in the next few weeks and is due for completion early next year. Road users may experience minor delays during construction but every effort will be made to keep these to a minimum. No work will be carried out over the busy Christmas-New Year period or over Labour weekend.
The contract for this $2.96 M project was awarded to Downer EDI Works.