Bridge's quick repair pleases business
Tue, 08 Jan 2013 7:23a.m.
A group of tourism operators on the West Coast are relieved after State Highway 6 reopened ahead of schedule.
A 40-metre section of the one-lane bridge and approach was washed away by the flooded Wanganui River, between Hokitika and Franz Josef, last Wednesday, making the road impassable and forcing lengthy detours for motorists.
Contractors working up to 15 hours a day diverted the flooded river away from the washout on the northern approach to the bridge and then rebuilt the highway which was reopened on Monday evening - 18 hours ahead of schedule.
The Glacier Country tourism group says the closure of the road south to Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier during the peak season had a big impact on operators.
"Businesses are looking forward to the remainder of what promises to be a busy season and hopefully Mother Nature won't be throwing any more spanners in the works this summer," group chairman Rob Jewell said.
He paid tribute to the work of New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and contractors to reopen the road link.
NZTA's Mark Pinner said safety checks had cleared the bridge and he praised workers who battled tough conditions to get the job done.
The temporary repairs have cost around $1 million.
The road closure also hit dairy farmers contracted to Hokitika-based Westland Milk Products who had to dump around 450,000 litres of milk while 22 tankers took loads to a Southland plant for processing.
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