Blue Pools Swing Bridge
Image: Shellie Evans | ©


Three popular DOC bridges closed for safety last year are expected to reopen this summer following extensive remediation work.

Date:  04 July 2024

DOC Central Otago Operations Manager Nicola Holmes says after in-depth engineering, geotechnical, and design assessments, work is now scheduled to begin on the Rob Roy, Blue Pools and Makarora bridges in the coming weeks. A new boardwalk between the Makarora and Blue Pools bridges will also be constructed.

“We’re thrilled to be at a stage where we can confidently begin the next stage of work and get these bridges reopened for our community,” Nicola says.

“This work is a significant undertaking requiring bespoke engineering and logistics - it takes time to achieve but now having done the prep work we’re in a great position to press forward.”

Prefabrication work takes place largely off-site and has begun already. Work on the ground is expected to start in the coming weeks.

While winter is a notoriously difficult time of year for anything construction related, the expert contractors have built that contingency into their time frames and all going to plan, all three bridges are expected to open during the summer, Nicola says.

“We want to thank the community for their patience as we work towards this milestone.

“We know it was disappointing for a lot of people when the bridges were closed. Safety is always at the heart of our decision making.”

Prior to their closure, the Blue Pools and Makarora bridges, both on the popular Blue Pools Track, were visited on average by around 550 people a day in January, with around 75 people per hour crossing during peak time.

Rob Roy Bridge, which is the only access to the Rob Roy glacier track, saw around 180 people per day over summer.

There had been numerous instances where people had been ignoring the load limit signs on the bridges.

Engineering advice was that they could not sustain that level of usage, and with visitor numbers continuing to increase, we needed to make them safer, Nicola says.

The Makarora bridge was also at the end of its operational life.

With work on-site set to begin in the coming weeks people are reminded to stay clear of any construction sites, and follow the directions on all signage.


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