Toki Bridge On The Move
The Westport Waterfront’s Riverbank project will achieve a key milestone today with the Toki Poutangata Bridge moving to its new home overlooking the Buller River.
Main contractor WestReef will coordinate transportation of the bridge along existing rail tracks from Rea Engineering’s workshop to the final site location, on specially constructed pivoting bogies.
KiwiRail have approved closure of their Westport operational rail yard for four days to allow bridge installation. This includes the crane lift into place, which is expected to occur on Monday weather permitting.
Group Manager Infrastructure Services Mike Duff says: “We are very grateful to KiwiRail for allowing this unique methodology to proceed. WestReef and their contractors have completed a detailed risk assessment as part of extensive planning and preparation”.
Witnessing this short 500m journey will be a rare opportunity for interested bystanders to see something different, and another example of project innovation and local expertise.
A special area on the Westport Railway Station platform will be cordoned off to provide a safe vantage point for members of the public to watch Toki’s arrival. This is to avoid assembly and congregation of people around the bridge ramp area and northwards along Adderley Street where access is already limited.
Mr. Duff says: “It really is exciting times for the project team, and to see Toki moving down the tracks and then lifted into place will be awesome. Safety is the highest priority, and we ask that everyone complies with the rail yard exclusion zones and traffic management in place. The platform viewing area is the best and safest spot for interested onlookers to watch the work.”
Once the bridge is positioned into place, it will be the first full reveal of Westport’s new iconic landmark which will safely link the town centre to the Buller River for the first time in over 40 years.
The Toki Bridge, designed by DC Structures Studio, is a tapering truss measuring 5.8m high at the river-facing end, with an overall width of 3.1m, total length of 38m and a span between bearing supports of 29m. The full lift weight including decking will be 24 tonnes. The ramp on the town side rises in two flights to a height of 5.4m above ground level, with a linear walk length of 77m at 1:12 grade with rest zones every 9m. The usable walkway width is 2.5m on the bridge and 2.3m on the ramp, with both using 28mm thick Fibre Reinforced Polymer non-slip decking materials and stainless steel countersunk fixings.
Installation will be followed by bridge certification and completion of the western embankment before the new over-rail link is opened for public use. This is expected to be before Christmas, so that users can enjoy the bridge in time for the holiday period. The remaining project scope and finishing touches of landscaping, town precinct improvements and connection to the Kawatiri trails will be completed early next year.
The final result will enable the community and visitors alike to experience active journey and recreation opportunities along the banks of the Buller River, via the Westport town centre, to the new port development and beaches beyond.
The Riverbank project grand opening is currently planned for February 2022.
For more information on the Riverbank project go to www.bullerdc.govt.nz/westport-riverfront-project/