Tauwharenīkau Bridge on State Highway 53 will be closed for two weeks from tomorrow while the Wellington Transport Alliance [WTA] installs scaffolding in preparation for bridge repairs and maintenance.
SH53 will be closed between Camp Rd and No 1 Line on weekdays only between 7am and 5pm, with the highway open to motorists at night, on weekends, and on the Waitangi Day public holiday [Tuesday, February 6].
WTA manager Roxanne Hilliard confirmed that as part of regular safety checks on bridges maintained by WTA, it was found that the bearings on Tauwharenīkau Bridge had corroded and need to be replaced for the safety of all road users.
A bridge expert has assessed the bridge, and the work will be done during February and March to ensure it is completed before winter.
For safety reasons, vehicles cannot use the bridge while the scaffolding is being installed but, on the upside, the full closure will allow for the scaffolding to be installed faster.
Once the scaffolding is up, work to replace the bridge’s bearings can begin, and both SH53 and the bridge will be able to remain open while this is completed.
For the next two weeks, detours will be in place through local roads via Camp Rd and No 1 Line.
The Camp Rd detour will be unsuitable for heavy vehicles and freight operators should detour via SH2 and No 1 Line at Tauwharenīkau.
NZ Transport Agency [NZTA] Waka Kotahi has warned that these detours will extend travel times and that road users will need to allow for this in their travel plans.
“Drivers may experience queues turning on and off State Highway 2,” an NZTA spokesperson said.
“NZTA appreciates this work will create disruptions and delays for residents and road users.
“However, this is essential maintenance work on an important state highway link.”
Property owners in the affected area will still be able to access their homes.