INDEPENDENT NEWS

Greymouth Bridges: Out With The Old

Published: Wed 8 Jul 2020 11:14 AM
Three old bridges in Greymouth will be replaced with help from a $13.4 million investment from the Government’s ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure contingency.
Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau made the announcement today on behalf of the Government.
“These worthwhile infrastructure projects will create jobs and increase the economic potential of the West Coast,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
The bridges to be replaced are:
· Moonlight Creek Bridge $2.6 million
· Rough River (Otututu River) Bridge $5 million
· William Stewart Bridge $5.8 million
“These bridges are increasingly becoming unsafe and are well overdue for replacement due to wear and tear. They simply do not meet the needs of the local community and businesses around them any longer.
“The bridges hamper the economic potential of the West Coast, with large freight trucks unable to use them safely. New bridges will allow for greater volumes of freight and provide safer and more efficient passage for all road travellers.
“Replacing the bridges will create approximately 70 local jobs. In a post COVID-19 world where many workers have been displaced, there is an opportunity for some of these workers to be employed by these projects. This will help get some much needed money circulating in the community.
“There have been on-going commuter delay issues with each of these single lane bridges, with reduced speeds, commercial traffic having to wait for oncoming traffic crossing the bridge or having to use alternative longer routes.
“Moonlight Creek Bridge is 80 years old and long overdue for replacement. The bridge’s timber and steel beams are heavily corroded. The replacement work will turn the existing 85 metre single lane bridge, into two lanes.
“Rough River Bridge is an 83 years old, single lane bridge on the border between the Buller and Greymouth districts. It was the site of a fatal accident in 2018 and cannot safely support modern high productivity vehicles. The William Stewart Bridge needs to be replaced due to safety and community isolation concerns.
“Large vehicles, such as milk tankers, can only cross the William Stewart Bridge at a crawling pace. The bridge was closed in 2018 for urgent repairs, leaving seven Taramaukau farms with about 72,000 litres of milk to get to market daily. A detour solution added thousands of dollars to the farmers’ costs.
“The new replacement bridges will also maintain reliable access to local visitor attractions, Blackball, the Paparoa Great Walk, the Pike River Memorial Walk and the Paparoa Wildlife Trust and allow for greater volumes of freight to get to market and provide safer and more efficient passage for all road travellers,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

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