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Contract awarded for new Arahura road-rail bridge

Media statement 19 March, 2008
For immediate release

Contract awarded to build new Arahura road-rail bridge

Railway infrastructure company ONTRACK has let a contract to HEB Smithbridge Ltd to build the new Arahura road / rail bridge.

ONTRACK Chief Executive William Peet said the new bridge, jointly funded with Transit NZ, would replace the existing 120-year-old bridge and preserve a key transport link for the West Coast.

“The existing timber bridge is near the end of its serviceable life. As this is the only direct route between Greymouth and Hokitika, retaining the transport link is extremely important to the region,” William Peet said.

The new bridge will be built in stages to ensure that State Highway 6 remains open throughout the construction period.

The contract with HEB Smithbridge Ltd is for the construction of a 220-metre concrete and steel, nine-span structure which includes a two-lane highway, railway line and a pedestrian-cycleway.

The contract also includes rail formation works on the bridge approaches, the construction of guidebanks in the river to protect the new bridge, the demolition of the existing bridge, and the construction of a small heritage park. The contract for building the roading approaches will be tendered separately by Transit NZ.

It is estimated that the cost of the total project, including road and rail works, will be between $25 - $28 million.

“The replacement bridge will improve public safety by separating the three transport modes – road, rail and the pedestrian-cycleway. The new design will also reduce flood and erosion risks,”William Peet said.

“To recognise the historic importance of the Arahura Bridge, we will build a heritage park at the northern approach, which will incorporate one of the timber truss spans from the existing structure. The historic span will be accompanied by explanatory panels depicting the history of the bridge and its cultural and heritage associations.”

It is expected that HEB Smithbridge will be established on site by late April 2008 and completion of the bridge is anticipated by early 2010.

HEB Smithbridge is a New Zealand company specialising in civil construction projects.

Mr Peet said ONTRACK received five tenders and was pleased with the strong interest in project.


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