The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says they will need to work through tomorrow, Friday 4 March, to complete shifting flood debris caught in about 20 piers on the Waitaki Bridges on SH82 near Kurow.
NZTA Area Manager Colin Hey says moving the debris is proving challenging. While good progress is being made it has been a little slower than expected. While this work is underway, the bridges will be closed for short periods, but will open for five minutes on the hour and half hour throughout the day to allow traffic through. Work will resume again at 8.30am tomorrow.
“A combination of a logging machine with a specially extended grab arm to reach over the sides of the bridges to shift the debris is proving effective. Having a team of abseiling tree fellers working over the sides of the bridges to support the work of this machine is also working well.”
Colin Hey says the cooperation of Meridian Energy and ECAN in keeping river flow as low as possible has made a big difference and they will continue to hold the flows through tomorrow as well. With river levels expected to increase later tomorrow with further rainfall predicted in the headwater of the Waitaki River, we are mindful that the window of opportunity to complete this work is decreasing.
Mr Hey has asked the local community to extend its goodwill and patience for another day so remaining flood debris can be shifted from under the bridges.
Access across the bridges will be maintained for emergency vehicles while this work is being carried out.