Preparing for bridge building
Manawatu Riverside shared pathway users had a taste of things to come after a drilling rig turned up on Palmerston North’s Dittmer Drive last week.
Pro-Drill specialist drilling engineers were working at the site for the He Ara Kotahi shared cycle and pedestrian bridge across the Manawatu River at the end of Ruha St.
But their work does not signal a start to construction, just preparations for it.
Project steering group chairman Ray Swadel said more research was needed to understand the soil structures below the river bed that would provide foundations for the new bridge.
Samples have already been retrieved from the Massey side of the river.
The rig was set up near the Holiday Park on Thursday, but plans to begin drilling on Friday were delayed as the Manawatu River flooded over the pathway at the site.
Opus Consultants engineering geologist Nicholas Yates, who was there to log the samples, said delaying the start of drilling was simply a matter of playing it safe.
Swadel said once the sampling was completed, the final design details for the bridge could be completed.
The council had access to some historical data about what was going on below the surface, but needed more precision to make sure they got things right.
The bridge, which was granted resource consents in May after a commissioners’ hearing in March, is part of a $10 million project to create an off-road link from the Fitzherbert Bridge to Linton.
The project has attracted $3m from the Urban Cycleways Programme and $3.2m from the National Land Transport Fund.
The connecting 6.6-kilometre pathway had been started, but stops at a dead end short of the Turitea Stream.
The goal was to have a bridge-building contractor appointed and ready to start work on the 190 metre-long bridge in September.
Completion of the project would be in the second half of 2018.
A drill rig at Dittmer Drive preparing for construction of the He Ara Kotahi bridge.