Luggate’s Red Bridge, on SH8A near Wanaka, will be closed next Thursday, 3 March, for resurfacing, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
People who usually use the bridge between 9am and 5pm will need to either take the detour route or travel outside of these times, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
Late last year, essential bridge repair and maintenance work was undertaken. Running boards were replaced, the handrail was repaired and abseilers tightened deck bolts. Following this, some resurfacing needs to be carried out on the bridge deck, as well as scheduled bridge inspections, says Robert Choveaux, Senior Network Manager for Waka Kotahi.
“The inspections on the more than 100-year-old bridge, include some specialised testing will require the bridge to be closed for daytime hours to 5 pm,” says Mr Choveaux.
“It is always challenging to undertake work on this historic, single lane bridge safely, while minimising the impact on our road users. During the bridge inspections, Aspiring Highways has opted to also apply bitumen sealing patches on the deck and finalise our active signage project,” says Mr Choveaux. He emphasised that the goal was to complete all three aspects in one single day closure.
Aspiring Highways maintains the highways in Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes District for Waka Kotahi.
During this time, a detour for traffic will be in place via Kane Rd – Camphill Rd – SH6 – Shortcut Rd (SH8A). This loop is approximately 32km and 20 – 25 minutes.
“Those who usually travel via the bridge on a Thursday should either try and travel outside of the times of nine to five or add extra time into their journey to take the alternative route if they are approved to do so,” says Mr Choveaux.
“We thank the travelling public and freight operators for their patience and understanding.”
Arrangements have been made to accommodate school buses.
Emergency vehicles will also be accommodated at short notice.
Active signage and monitoring project
During last year’s deck repair activity at the bridge, a team undertook initial work for an active signage and monitoring project, for implementation by Aspiring Highways this year.
“We took the opportunity during last year’s closure to install the detector loops into the road that were needed for the monitoring aspect of the project,” says Mr Choveaux. “This allows us to complete the final construction of this project in just one day this year.”
The project, has two main elements:
“The Red Bridge was opened in 1915, designed for lighter vehicles and fewer vehicles than are using the bridge today,” says Mr Choveaux. “We are continuing to maintain it for safe use now and into the future, and this project is one tool that allows us to do so.
“Reducing the speed of the large vehicles that travel over the bridge reduces the load, reducing the overall wear and damage. The monitoring aspect of the project will allow us to see if the active signage is working and understand the full picture of the vehicle types and speeds contributing to the ongoing stresses.”
Mr Choveaux hopes that this project will ensure the bridge will continue to be used for many more years, minimising disruptive maintenance and reducing the likelihood that other traffic slowing measures, such as traffic signals, will need to be installed in the near future.
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