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Work on Newton River Bridge set to start

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Work to alter the frame of the Newton River Bridge on State Highway 6 through the Buller Gorge is set to start in July.

The work, which involves replacing some cross braces in the truss, is expected to be complete by early September, weather permitting.  During the project, a 30 km/h speed restriction will be in place through the work area at all times. On specific dates there will be additional load and access restrictions, particularly for heavy vehicles.

Mark Owen, Regional Network Performance Manager, NZ Transport Agency says the work is important to maintain the integrity and safety of the structure.  “The bridge is 85 years old and in that time the size and weight, particularly of heavy vehicles, has increased.”

“It is a strong bridge, and by altering the frame to allow more room for high sided vehicles we will ensure that the bridge continues to do its job.”

There are specific restrictions for overweight vehicles from Tuesday 12 July to Monday 22 August 2016. During this time they will not be allowed to use the bridge, and drivers of these vehicles will have to use the detour via State Highway 65, State Highway 7 and State Highway 69 (via Springs Junction and Reefton). The detour will add an additional three hours to the journey so these drivers should allow additional travel time for their journey.

High Productivity Motor Vehicle (HPMV) and over-dimension vehicles will be able to use the bridge, subject to the time restrictions outlined below and the conditions of their permits. 

The times of the bridge closures will also be posted on the variable message signs (VMS) at Wakefield, Murchison and Reefton.

“Please allow extra time for your journey if you’re travelling through the area during these works. We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your co-operation while we carry out this important work,” Mr Owen says.

Specific details of the closures/restrictions are:

 

Period

Restrictions

1

Works Underway

21 June – 21 July

 

 

Daytime (6:00am – 6:00pm)

During this time the bridge is expected to be open with 30km/hr speed restriction in place. Stop/go operation may be required at certain stages with a maximum delay period of approximately 5 minutes.

Night time

The bridge open at all times with 30km/hr speed restriction

2

12 July – 22 August

Overweight vehicles are not permitted on the bridge at any time. A detour via State Highway 65, State Highway 7 and State Highway 69 (via Springs Junction and Reefton) is available. Drivers should allow three hours for this detour.

3

22 July – 22 August

Daytime (6:00am – 9:00pm)

During this time the bridge is expected to be open with 30km/hr speed restriction in place. Stop/go operation may be required at certain stages with a maximum delay period of approximately 5 minutes.

Night time (9:00pm – 6:00am)

The bridge will be opened on the hour every hour for 10 minutes with stop/go operation to let traffic through. It will then be closed for 50 minutes.

4

23 August – 5 September

Daytime (6:00am – 6:00pm)

During this time the bridge is expected to be open with 30km/hr speed restriction in place. Stop/go operation may be required at certain stages with a maximum delay period of approximately 5 minutes.

 Night time

The bridge will be open at all times with 30km/hr speed restriction.

These timeframes are weather dependent and the bridge will be open under 30km/hr speed restriction when work cannot be carried out due to weather conditions.

Any HPMV or overweight vehicle operators wanting to clarify the access restrictions to Newton Bridge while the work is underway can contact 03 546 0119   or 021 227 4831  or phone their local permitting office.

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