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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

A new bridge north of Waiau in North Canterbury is now open to traffic after four months construction.

The old bridge over the Wandle River, on the Inland Road/Route 70 between Waiau and Peketa/ Kaikōura, sustained extensive damage in the November, 2016 earthquake. 

Hurunui District Councillor Ross Barnes formally opened the bridge with the NCTIR crew.

A temporary Bailey bridge has been bridging the gap ever since and the whole road and its many repairs have been managed and funded by the Transport Agency’s North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery team (NCTIR). 

The new build began in September, 2019 and the recent opening was marked with a ceremony attended by Hurunui District Council staff and the NCTIR alliance engineers and workers who delivered the project. 

NCTIR Senior Project Engineer Dean Ewen and Project Engineer Jordan Smith at the newly opened Wandle.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency NCTIR Manager Colin Knaggs says the Inland Road/Route 70 is vital for oversize vehicles which can’t travel on State Highway 1 south of Kaikōura over the Hundalees. 

“It provides an alternative route to and from Kaikōura for all road users in the event of an emergency, something the 2016 earthquake made very real for residents and townspeople,” he says. 

“The Transport Agency recognises the importance of this road and in addition to the earthquake repair work we carried out, we allocated $10 million towards roading improvements as part of the NCTIR programme.” 

Hurunui District Council Chief Executive Officer Hamish Dobbie says it is important for the district that earthquake repair work is near completion and there is a good serviceable road for the future. 

“The road is a key piece of infrastructure for us. It provides service to a lot of people that live up here – without it they wouldn’t be able to do what they do… so to have a brand new bridge here is a big step forward,” he says. 

The Pinkney family was the first to cross the bridge after it was structurally complete.

Hurunui District Council staff and councillors went on a tour of the NCTIR project sites between Waiau and Kaikōura at the end of 2019. 

“The road itself is, generally, in better condition than what it was before the earthquake. We’re happy with the work that NCTIR’s done on it,” Mr Dobbie says. 

The new Wandle Bridge was completed in around four months using a total of 290 cubic metres of concrete, 10 bridge beams, and piles drilled up to 24 metres deep. 

The temporary Bailey bridge that allowed traffic access since 2017 has now been removed. 

The bridge build is part of a suite of work* necessary to return the Inland Road/Route 70 back to pre-earthquake levels of service that also includes pavement repairs, culvert replacements, and geotechnical protection works such as new retaining walls, rock nets and rock stabilisation works. 

All work on the road is expected to be completed by July 2020 when it will be handed back to the Hurunui District Council for ongoing management and maintenance. 

Background and map

For an idea of where you will find the Wandle River Bridge and 19 other separate projects on the Inland Road, see the original work notice and map here: link)

Wandle Bridge opening – 21 January 2020

Waiau Bailey bridge – 1 February 2020