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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

South Westland’s SH6 Waiho/Waiau bailey bridge, is getting new deck planks this month. The bridge was replaced last March, including a temporary driving surface, after a storm washed away most of the old bailey bridge.

“Work will now get underway to install the permanent deck and seal it,” says Moira Whinham, Maintenance Contract Manager for the Transport Agency on the West Coast.

The work, south of Franz Josef, will require five overnight closures leading into mid-February to replace the decking, followed by two one-hour daytime delays mid-February for sealing.

“The road will be closed overnight from 9pm to 6am the following day, from Sunday, 9 February through to Friday, 14 February,” says Miss Whinham. “The bridge will open on the hour each hour to allow traffic to pass. 

“In addition to the nightly closures, the bridge deck will be sealed either side of lunchtime on Friday, 14 February.  There will be two one-hour closures at 11 am until midday and again in the afternoon from 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm.”

She noted the sealing is weather dependent. If it is wet on Friday, 14 February, the sealing will be postponed and a new date will be advertised.

“Thanks to all the hospitality providers on the West Coast and freight businesses for helping get this message to the regular users of SH6, so they can build in some extra time,” she says.

Electronic message boards will also advertise the closures and openings ahead of time at locations south of Hokitika, north of Haast and at the glacier townships.

Why this work is happening now

The running planks installed last March/ April as part of the bridge rebuild were temporary and were not able to be sealed at the time due to wet weather.  They have been covered in mesh to maintain traction over the spring and summer.

The removed timber decking is being donated to the Franz Josef Community Council for their use on projects around the township.

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