Milestone for $22m bridge

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Full span: The new Kawarau Falls bridge in Queenstown PICTURE: NZTA

The placement of the last steel girder means Queenstown’s new, 250m Kawarau Falls bridge now fully spans the Kawarau River.

NZ Transport Agency senior project boss Phil Dowsett says pre-cast concrete slabs are being installed over the girders, and the road deck would be completed by the end of this month.

The other focus of the 30 workers now on site is the construction of a gabion wall to strengthen about 100m of the river bank on the southern side, Dowsett says.

The $22 million, two-lane bridge near Queenstown was to have been completed this December, but its schedule was extended after an eleventh-hour decision by Queenstown’s council to attach a water and wastewater pipeline while the bridge was still under construction.

Work on the $7.2m pipeline project is expected to begin next week.

The agency announced last month that one lane of the new bridge would open to traffic by Christmas, with the other lane required for the pipeline work.

But the existing one-lane bridge will remain open, allowing two-way traffic across the river in time for the spike in traffic during the Christmas-New Year holiday period.

The new bridge is expected to be fully completed by the the end of March.

Traffic restrictions will remain until the middle of next year while landscaping and other bridge infrastructure is done.

Otago Daily Times