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Ultimate Milestone For Popular New Otago Bridge

It’s “job done” on the much admired and eagerly awaited new Beaumont Bridge on SH8, in the Otago town of Beaumont, with the recent final sealing and lane marking of the bridge deck.

Spanning the Clutha River/ Mata-au, the new bridge, funded by NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) and built by HEB Construction has been used since the end of July ahead of the final layer of top-seal and road markings, under temporary speeds until now.

The bridge replaces a 136-year-old single lane bridge, which has a new lease of life as part of the cycling route between Waihola and Lawrence on the Clutha Gold Trails.

Work completed over the bridge’s final stages included sealing and applying road marking to the bridge deck, landscaping, retaining walls below the bridge, and paths under both sides. A rest area formed on the eastern riverbank between the old and new bridges provides a convenient spot for travellers to break their journey.

NZTA Director Regional Relationships James Caygill says it is great to see people using the new bridge with its distinctive visual features relating to iwi history and underlining the role of the river as the original route Māori took on their pounamu trails to and from the hinterland, later followed by gold miners.

Mr Caygill says this was the biggest highway infrastructure project in the Clutha District in a generation, boosting jobs for the local economy while it was under construction.

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“The new bridge strengthens the resilience of this highway which is an economic and social lifeline for local people, visitors to our region, farmers and businesses,” says Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan. “Agricultural and forestry contractors need to know they can get to the Port of Otago reliably and in all weathers and this bridge gives us all added confidence. It is a huge asset for Beaumont.”

Over the coming summer break, he anticipated many travellers would pause to enjoy the area and check out the bridge’s many beautiful features and storylines.

The project’s construction cost rose from $25 million original tender price to $32 million over the two years of construction. Factors contributing to the increase included market and overseas supply chain delays, shipping delays affecting the supply and price of steel, and the need to increase the new bridge pile depth due to unexpected borehole ground conditions. Adding to the final cost was an asphaltic surface for the new bridge deck with better skid resistance for this frost prone location, providing better safety and longevity than a traditional asphalt surface.

Bridge specifications

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