The official opening of the Tidal Creek No. 2 Bridge on Saturday has been welcomed by Buller District Council and community, who say it’s a much-needed upgrade to the vital highway on the West Coast.
The 88-year-old bridge that was replaced no longer met seismic strength thresholds and was suitable only for vehicles up to a certain weight. Road freight operators with loads that exceeded the old bridge’s limits needed to apply to the Buller District Council for a permit to cross.
The new bridge, spanning 25 meters, is seismically sound and can accommodate High Productive Motor vehicles (HPMV).
Speaking at the opening Buller District Mayor Jamie Cleine said, “The Karamea Highway is a significant road for the Karamea Basin, servicing the farming and tourism sectors, as well as being a vital piece of infrastructure for the local community. Buller District Council is keen to work with MBIE to secure funding for vital projects such as the Tidal Creek No.2 Bridge, and the successful delivery of this project will hopefully display our ability to make the most of any future funding opportunities”.
The $1.8 million project was funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) as part of the COVID-19 shovel-ready response and was overseen by Buller District Council’s Project Management Office, set up to ensure the successful delivery of projects of this scale.
MBIE’s Principle Regional Advisor for the South Island, Warren Gilbertson said the Ministry was currently partnering on 10 separate projects with Buller District Council.
“Good progress is being made with all of those, and the Tidal Creek No.2 Bridge being delivered ahead of schedule and to budget sets a good precedent for the relationship going forward,” he said.
“Minister Nash recently announced the new Regional Strategic Partnership Fund, and we are currently talking to all of our West Coast partners, including Buller District Council, about potential future projects.”
The Tidal Creek No.2 Bridge project was managed by WSP, with construction and physical work undertaken by Concrete Structures Limited and WestReef Services Limited.
“For this project we utilised our team out of Greymouth, who have a lot of experience with the challenges that come with construction on the West Coast, which helped things run smoothly,” said Engineer Bridges and Civil Structures, WSP Vincent Wong.
“Moving the bridge structures and equipment to Karamea through the bluffs isn’t an easy job but our team’s planning and execution ensured there were no issues, we also had a good run of weather that enabled us to get the sealing done before the winter weather moved in.”
A video detailing the projects progress and bridge construction can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNNFzGgeBuk