Update on Ashburton bridge for heavy traffic

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 3, 2021

Two days after the Ashburton River/Hakatere Bridge was closed due a slump at one pier, the bridge has opened to more vehicles this morning (3 June), including 50MAX and high productivity permitted motor vehicles (HPMV).

The heavier vehicles will have bridge access for the first week from 7am to 7pm, daytime hours.

Any trucks with an ‘overweight‘ permit will need to take the alternate routes on local roads to get south of Ashburton.

The bridge was closed to traffic 1 June, with pressure testing under way by the evening and light vehicles allowed back on the bridge by the end of the day. Currently light vehicles have 24/7 access.

“The pier testing yesterday, using heavily-laden trucks, showed negligible movement, indicating that the pier has stabilised and the structure is robust,” says NZ Transport Agency system manager Pete Connors.

“We still need to take it one step at a time however, particularly as the debris is being removed from underneath the bridge.

“We need to keep monitoring the bridge deck and the pier for any movement during the day. This means that we need to restrict truck movements to between 7am and 7pm for the next week, Thursday to Thursday (3 to 10 June).

“After a week of use, we need to reassess the situation and decide if we can allow broader access for the freight industry.”

  • All other light traffic can use the bridge 24/7. 

  • If any issues arise, the bridge will close at short notice.

  • Emergency services vehicles will have 24/7 access.

Connors says the bridge speed limit will remain at 30kph.

At this stage, the NZTA is still working through its detailed repair methodologies for this bridge pier, says Connors. The fix will likely involve scour protection works, re-levelling and underpinning the pier.

“Thanks to all truck drivers for your patience over the past two days and to Ashburton and Timaru District‘s engineers, emergency management people and road crews who ensured alternate routes were available to get the freight through,” says Connors.

Local detours for trucks at night are available via the Ashburton District Council‘s web pages.