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Funding approved for new Awatere Bridge

Funding approved for new Awatere Bridge

The Land Transport New Zealand Board has approved $15.1 million for the construction of a new two-lane road bridge over the Awatere River on State Highway 1 north of Seddon.

The funding will also enable the construction of a northbound passing lane on the Dashwood side of the bridge, the return of the existing single lane road/rail bridge to a rail only function, and the construction of a new rail over-bridge to the south.

Together these improvements will provide a dedicated two-lane state highway bridge (including two 1.5m shoulders providing better access for cyclists), eliminate a railway level crossing and realign approximately 1.3km of highway.

The existing road/rail bridge was opened to traffic in 1902, and the timber deck is nearing the end of its life. The current bridge imposes load, height and width restrictions for road users, resulting in lengthy queues, significant delays and a history of nose-to-tail crashes. The current railway level crossing south of the bridge is also a cause of delays.

The Awatere Bridge also provides a critical link on SH1 between Christchurch and Blenheim. The nearest alternative route is via Murchison, meaning that any closure or failure of the current bridge – which is vulnerable to flood damage and has a substandard seismic strength - would require a 189km detour until the bridge was repaired or a temporary structure built.

ENDS

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