The NZ Transport Agency says its remains on target to re-open a section of State Highway 6 near Harihari on the West Coast as planned tomorrow (Tuesday, 8 January).
“Our contractors are making excellent progress reconstructing the 40 metre section of highway swept away by flood waters last Wednesday when the Wanganui River burst its banks,” says the NZTA’s Senior Asset Manager for the West Coast, Mark Pinner.
“We have to build up the highway four metres from the ground so that drivers can safely access the Wanganui River bridge again. We’re spreading rocks and gravel the length of the washout layer by layer – half a metre at a time. Late this morning we had built up about one-and-a-half metres, and we’ve got another two-and-a-half to go. “
Mr Pinner says contractors are working 15 hours – from 6am to 9pm – to re-open the highway.
“River levels beside the construction site are still pretty high, but there’s a real sense of urgency to the work. We are all aware of the importance of meeting our deadline and getting this link open again for the people on the Coast,” he says.
A detailed inspection of the bridge will be made later today but Mr Pinner says the NZTA is certain it has withstood the pressure from surging flood waters.
,p>Because repairs to the highways are temporary, vehicle access to and from the bridge may have to be managed for a time to ensure the safety of all those using it.
“We will focus on that matter once we’ve dealt with our number one priority – getting the highway rebuilt and reopened,” Mr Pinner says.
Note: The NZTA plans to issue updates around midday daily to keep people informed of progress to re-open SH6.