Bid to improve bridge safety

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Up to $200,000 may be spent to make a bridge over the Hinds River safer.

Two people have died after accidents on the bridge.

Ashburton council’s Service Delivery Committee today will consider a recommendation that safety improvements be made to bridge 72 over the Hinds River on Maronan Road.

In September 2015 and this year vehicles travelling north have hit the downstream (eastern) side rail, resulting in the vehicle leaving the road and landing in the bed on the river.

Both vehicles were fertiliser trucks that mounted the eastern kerb, removed a substantial length of downstream bridge rail before falling into the river bed.

Both accidents resulted in deaths.

A report to council said the two fatalities led to an investigation.

The bridge is single, is on a relatively straight alignment, and has an overall deck width of 4.52m between the tops of the handrails and had a kerb height of 0.27m

The kerbs protrude 260mm beyond the face of the side barriers.

The report said that with the relatively narrow width between kerbs, if a vehicle was “wayward in their approach, then impacting the kerb could result in loss of control”.

It said the kerbs were non-structural (do not contribute to the strength of the bridge) and could be removed.

It is recommended that the kerb and side rails be removed and replaced with full w-beam guardrail and side protection and install approach barriers.