Second Kurow bridge to open

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The second of the two new Kurow bridges will open in three weeks’ time, ahead of schedule.

The bridge, the second of two being built by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on State Highway 82 at Kurow, will be officially opened on June 7.

Kurow Hotel owner Ross Paton said having two double-lane bridges would be good for traffic passing through, as well as for those in the Kurow community.

“I do think there’s people out there that will use the two-lane bridges that haven’t wanted to use the single lanes,” he said.

“I think we’ll get a few more people stopping in the town.”

Waitaki Valley School principal Helen Blick said about a third of the children lived across the bridges, so would be using them daily.

“They’ll be excited about driving over it.”

The children went to the last opening, but as this one would be on a Saturday, most would be involved in sport, she said.

NZTA highway manager Colin Knaggs said the deck was being poured and worked was progressing on the installation of the guard and hand rails.

“Our contractor McConnell Dowell Constructors has had two crews working on site since we opened the first bridge six weeks ago,” he said.

“This, coupled with the streamlining of the construction process and a piling programme that progressed smoothly, means the second bridge will be opened on Saturday, June 7.”

The two new two-lane bridges being built on State Highway 82 replace two ageing single-lane bridges which opened in 1881.

Work was well under way in deconstructing the first of the old timber bridges over the southern branch of the river, Mr Knaggs said.

“More than a third of the bridge has been removed and we expect deconstruction of the remaining section to be completed within a month.”

Traffic is using one-lane of the new bridge while the deconstruction work is completed, along with the earthworks for the widening of the approaches.

After the opening of the second bridge, the contractors are expected to remain on site until early October, deconstructing the second bridge, completing development of the approaches for the second bridge and link road and finishing any land rehabilitation, Mr Knaggs said.

The $20.1 million project is part of the Transport Agency’s $1 billion programme of investment in Canterbury’s transport network from 2012 to 2015.

The opening of the second bridge on Saturday, June 7, starts at 12.30pm and anyone is welcome to celebrate the event.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: NZTA

NEW BRIDGE: The second of two new bridges over the Waitaki River will be officially opened in three weeks.