On Sunday 22 July 2018, large numbers of West Coasters turned out to participate in the opening of the new $25 million road bridge across the Taramakau River, between Kumara Junction and Greymouth.
Originally estimated to take two years to build, contractor Fulton Hogan delivered the new bridge in close to 18 months.
In part, the celebration was an acknowledgement of the end of an era with the last road-rail bridge in the South Island ceasing to have a dual purpose and only taking rail traffic from now on. The road has been realigned to pass over the existing rail line south of the river.
The Transport Agency wishes to thank all those who contributed to the opening ceremony including Ngāti Waewae, police, and the Fulton Hogan team.
View photos from the opening day
About the new Taramakau Bridge project
The new two-lane bridge has been built between Greymouth and the Kumara Junction, 30 metres downstream of the existing single-lane road and rail bridge.
The new bridge is 250 metres long, 10 metres high and 15 metres wide. The project saw a section of State Highway 6 realigned and an overpass built to take road traffic over the railway line.
A 2.5 metre wide, off-road cycle and pedestrian facility linking into the existing cycle track was also built. This forms part of the West Coast Wilderness Trail.
The existing bridge will remain in place and will be used solely as a rail bridge.
This is a Government Accelerated Regional Roading Project(external link). Fulton Hogan held the contract for the project.
- The new two-lane Taramakau Bridge was a long awaited project for the West Coast that provides significant improvements for travellers in terms of safety, travel times and journey experience.
- The bridge is on an important route, connecting Greymouth to Christchurch, via Arthurs Pass, and to Hokitika and onwards to Haast and the Otago region.
- The old single lane bridge caused traffic congestion, with vehicles having to queue to cross the 220 metre long structure.
- The new two-lane bridge means local business operators, freight vehicles and residents will no longer have to wait at each end on their daily commutes.
- The cycle and pedestrian path links into existing facilities, making it easier and safer to walk and bike around the area.
- The cycle links play a part in the growing tourism opportunities developing in the West Coast such as the Wilderness Trail.
- Rail traffic remains on the existing bridge, and this separation of road, rail and cycling/pedestrian traffic improves both safety and efficiency.