Road Bridge Policy


1.0    Purpose

This policy details the approach taken by the Timaru District Council regarding bridges in the district.

2.0    Background

Bridges form an integral part of the road infrastructure by providing safe and uninterrupted road crossing over rivers, streams and railway corridors.

All bridges in the district undergo a 3-5 year full bridge stock assessment, to identify repairs and rehabilitation issues (needs) to assist with planning for the future. The assessment also identifies any associated risks and hazards, and the management strategy to minimise, mitigate, or remove these.

Bridges play an important part in linking the district, and the Council wants to ensure that the bridges are safe for motorists and continue to be fit for purpose with the capacity and width appropriate for the road hierarchy.

In May 2010, the Government introduced an amended Vehicle Dimension and Mass (VDM) Rule to allow a new class of vehicle called high productivity motor vehicles (HPMVs). These HPMVs can only operate under permit and on specified routes. In addition, the VDM rule allows for a 50MAX vehicle capacity. The roading network must meet the VDM capacity as these permits are district wide.

3.0    Key Definitions

  • 50MAX - The maximum weight of 50 tonne for a High Productivity Motor Vehicle (HPMV) that meets the standard 44 tonne vehicle axle loads.
  • Bridge  - A structure designed to carry a road or path over an obstacle by spanning it.
  • HPMV - High Productivity Motor Vehicles. Vehicle that carries a divisible load that exceeds a mass of 44 tonnes allowed for standard vehicles, up to 65 tonne that is permitted for specified routes. 
  • NZTA - New Zealand Transport Agency – A Crown entity governed by a statutory board. Their purpose is to deliver transport solutions for a thriving New Zealand on behalf of the government. They are also the State Highway controlling agency.
  • Primary collector - According to One Network Road Classification (ONRC), these are locally important roads that provide a primary distributor / collector function, linking significant local economic areas or areas of population.
  • Road - This is the designated Council road and has the meaning assigned to it as defined in the Local Government Act 1974.
  • Stakeholders - This includes people, groups, and organisations that have significant interest in bridges. These include but are not limited to Road Transport Association (RTA), and transport operators.

Unless specifically defined in this policy, all words and expressions shall have the meaning as defined in the Local Government Act 1974 and 2002, the Land Transport Act 1998, and any Acts passed in amendment or substitution thereof.

4.0    Policy

  1. All new and replacement bridges within the District shall be capable of a minimum 50MAX capacity, and on collector and higher hierarchy roads shall be capable of full HPMV capacity.
  2. All weight restricted bridges within the District shall be advertised annually in local media, on the Council website, advised to NZTA, and notified in writing to stakeholders with significant interest.
  3. Bridges on all primary collector and higher hierarchy roads shall be two lanes.
  4. All approved overweight permits for travel over Timaru District Council bridges shall have been assessed to ensure adequate bridge capacity.
  5. All approved overweight permits must include a schedule of bridges excluded or access restricted.

Adopted District Services Committee 22 March 2016

Last updated: 24 Feb 2021