The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) advises that Narrows Bridge, which crosses the Waikato River just south of Hamilton on State Highway 21, will remain closed until further notice.
People travelling to Hamilton International Airport on SH21 from the Tamahere side of the city are advised to allow approximately 30 additional minutes for their journey. The recommended route to and from the airport during the Narrows Bridge closure is via SH3 (Ohaupo Road). Detour signs are in place.
NZTA Acting State Highway Manager Michelle Te Wharau says Narrows Bridge will remain closed until the river level drops and a further assessment can be made of the erosion damage.
The NZTA will be starting work this week to address the erosion and scouring issues that were identified prior to the bridge’s closure last Thursday. This work involves drilling numerous reinforcing rods into the adjacent steep river banks and is expected to take up to four months to complete. Once completed it will help stabilise and strengthen the river banks to protect Narrows Bridge from further erosion.
The NZTA has also started immediate preparations to lay the foundations for a temporary one-lane bailey bridge in case the remedial works or other circumstances require the Narrows Bridge to remain closed. The laying of new bridge foundations will enable a bailey bridge to be installed, if required, immediately downstream of the existing bridge within the fastest possible timeframe.
Mrs Te Wharau says, “We wish to assure people that the Narrows Bridge itself is structurally sound. The focus of our concern is the erosion and scouring of the adjacent river bank.”
“As much as we understand the inconvenience that closing this bridge has caused the nearby residents and travelling public, the safety of the people using this bridge is our highest priority,” Mrs Te Wharau says.