Overnight closures Taipo River Bridge, SH73, between Jacksons and Kumara, West Coast, from this weekend

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineDecember 2, 2020

People who drive at night between the West Coast and Canterbury on SH73, the Arthur‘s Pass route, may face delays between Jacksons and Kumara from Sunday night, 6 December, until Saturday night, 12 December.

The Taipo River Bridge, between Turiwhate and Jacksons, is being closed for a major guardrail safety upgrade, replacing the wooden side rails with steel guard railing, says the NZ Transport Agency.

The road will be closed between 10pm and 6am each night, but will open on the hour every hour to allow traffic to pass. People could have a 50-minute delay if they arrive outside of that top of the hour opening, says NZTA maintenance contract manager Moira Whinham. 

An alternative route is available using the Lake Brunner Road via Inchbonnie and Moana to Greymouth, however this can add up to 35 minutes to the journey south of Greymouth.   

This work is part of the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme with $5 million allocated to upgrade the guardrails at five West Coast single lane bridges. The Taipo River Bridge work will cost around $800,000 and is being completed by Fulton Hogan West Coast.

“The West Coast has the greatest number of single lane bridges in New Zealand, with about 50 on the state highway network,” says Whinham.

Installing or upgrading guardrails on single lane bridges will reduce the risk of run-off road crashes leading to deaths and serious injuries.

The West Coast single-lane bridges proposed for safety upgrades are SH73 Taipo River (currently timber railing), SH6 Mikonui River (timber railing), SH6 Wanganui River (timber rail and approach guardrail), SH6 Moeraki River and Whakapohai River (both pipe/ hollow metal rail). The remaining work will be tendered in the coming months and be completed by late 2021.