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.

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