Opening of Bailey bridge at SH2 Waikare Gorge delayed

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 21, 2023

Work on the Bailey bridge at Waikare Gorge on SH2 between Wairoa and Napier is progressing, with two piers that will support the bridge completed.

However, Waka Kotahi said the progress made to date has not been enough to offset a delay to the timeline for opening the bridge, caused by poor weather and supply challenges.

The Bailey bridge will replace the bridge, which was washed away during Cyclone Gabrielle, while a permanent solution is designed and constructed.

Waka Kotahi regional manager of maintenance and operations Jaclyn Hankin said the bridge had initially been expected to open at the end of this month, but now looks likely to open by the end of May.

“While it’s taken longer to get to this point than we would have liked due to supply challenges and poor weather, particularly over Easter weekend, what it does mean is that due to good progress made at Devil’s Elbow, we’re now aiming to reopen the entire route between Wairoa and Napier in one go,” she said.

“Our contractors are continuing to work incredibly hard on both the Bailey bridge and at Devil’s Elbow, where they are busy securing dropouts, making shoulder and road surface repairs, clearing drains and silt, and removing debris and waste.”

The next step for the Bailey bridge is constructing and installing the bridge platform.

Construction on the fabricated steel and timber platform will take place from next Wednesday, after Anzac Day, and is expected to take about 10 days to complete.

The focus will then turn to securing access on and off the bridge, with aggregate to be brought to site to safely build up the road at either end. This work is expected to take three to four  weeks to complete.

“Restoring access to the communities living alongside this section of SH2 has been, and continues to be, one of our most significant priorities in this recovery,” Hankin said.

“We know any delays are really disappointing for these communities – we’re disappointed too – but we also know they understand what we’ve been up against and that they want the work done right,” she said.

“We’re incredibly grateful for their patience so far; it’s not something we take for granted and we’re doing everything we can to get the work done as fast as we can do so safely.”