The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says the raising of the Waiho River Bailey Bridge on State Highway 6 (SH6) near Franz Josef Glacier is on target to start early next week.
NZTA West Coast Senior Asset Manager Mark Pinner says raising the bridge to increase its clearance above the river will make it less vulnerable to flooding and help ensure the security of an important bridge on one of the region’s key tourist and freight routes. The bridge will be raised one pier at a time in 300mm increments until it is 2.1 metres above its current height. This technique was successfully used to raise the bridge 9 years ago.
“The road approaches to the bridges have to be raised by similar amounts. This work started about four weeks ago and is now close to completion. A crane has been on site over the last few days as a part of the work needed to prepare the piers ahead of the bridge being raised”
Mr Pinner said the first of 8 nights of lifting the bridge will get underway on Tuesday 21 June and end on 29 June. The work will be carried out between 11pm and 5am. Closure signs are up at the roadside in Franz Josef, and an advance Variable Message Sign will be used at Fox Glacier to alert traffic well before they reach this area. There will be no access over the bridge during these closures, apart from emergency vehicles. Doing this work at night when traffic volumes are very low should minimise disruption for road users.
The work, costing $1.3m should be finished in July although the highway will not be sealed until later in the year when the weather is warmer.