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New Waitaki Bridges on track

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Every year the Transport Agency invests more than $3 billion to advance both national and regional transport projects that help New Zealand thrive.

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Placing one of the weathered steel beams on the No 2 bridge on the Kurow side of the river.

One regional project helping to achieve this in the Transport Agency’s southern region, are the new Waitaki River Bridges being built on SH82 near Kurow in North Otago.

Work on this $20.1 million bridge replacement job started earlier this year, with the shorter of the new twin bridges on the Kurow side of the river, expected to be carrying traffic by March 2014.

The new bridges are part of the Transport Agency's $1 billion programme of investment in Canterbury's transport network from 2012 to 2015. They have been designed and are being built to take account State highway 82’s role as an important local and regional freight and tourism route.

When both new bridges are completed toward the end of 2014, they will safeguard a critical link between Kurow and Hakataramea Valley that goes back to when the existing bridges opened in 1881.

The new replacement structures will offer a safe and dependable alternative route for State highway 1 traffic when emergencies close the Waitaki Bridge at Glenavy. From a network resilience and civil defence perspective this is important.

A unique feature of the bridges is the use of high strength, low-alloy weathered steel for the bridge beams. The choice of weathering steel also reflects the heritage of the existing bridges and blends well with the environment.

Over time, the colour of the steel changes from a rusty red-brown to dark brown. This weather-resistant steel offers significant environmental and health and safety benefits throughout the life of the structure. There is another benefit as well. Because this steel doesn’t need painting, it will help reduce the on-going maintenance costs of the new bridges.

Being one the largest construction projects in the Kurow area in decades, the new bridges have given a welcome boost to the local economy, including the creation of up to 20 new jobs.

To find out more about this project visit the website.

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