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Green light for Waiohine Bridge replacement

Green light for Waiohine Bridge replacement

Transit New Zealand is about to advertise for tenders to replace the Waiohine River Bridge on State Highway 2 between Carterton and Greytown.

"The existing bridge is narrow, making it uncomfortable and potentially hazardous for motorists and especially trucks to pass each other. It also has no provision for cyclists," said Transit project manager Peter Ward.

Mr Ward said the current bridge is also at risk from earthquakes and scour during flooding, which is unacceptable for a strategic highway which carries, on average, over 8,000 vehicles per day of which almost 1,000 are heavy commercial vehicles.

"The present bridge is relatively short, causing flooding and diversion of water into the adjacent floodway under storm events. The riverbanks are being overtopped by floodwaters on average at least once every 10 years and the bridge is at risk of damage from the size of earthquake that is likely to occur every 20 to 50 years." "Building a longer bridge will mean that the waterway is less restricted which will minimise overtopping of the riverbanks," said Mr Ward. "It will also be less likely to be damaged during an earthquake."

Transit, the Greater Wellington Regional Council, and the South Wairarapa and Carterton district councils are contributing to the total cost of the project which is estimated to be $4.4 million. The new bridge will be 10.6m wide and have shoulders for cyclists on each side. It will be built about 10m downstream from the current bridge and is expected to be completed by Christmas 2005.

Transit is also taking the opportunity to improve the access into the nearby Maori cemetery and the Wairarapa Aggregates crushing plant. New landscaping will incorporate a tollgate that was first used on the Waiohine Bridge from 1872 to 1880. The gate was restored by the local branch of the Historic Places Trust, and until recently stood in the south-west corner of Carrington Park in Carterton.

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