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Key points for consideration

  • Physical division within the community: The absence of the bridge has created a physical division within the community
  • Project timeline: The goal is to deliver a permanent replacement structure to the community by mid-2025
  • Alignment choice: Rebuilding the bridge on the existing alignment is the preferred approach to meet the required timeline and stakeholder expectations
  • Environmental considerations: The impact on fish spawning in the river is being carefully considered throughout the project's planning and execution.


The original bridge at Puketapu was a 129m swing bridge and was in place between 1906 - 1962. This was then replaced by a 122m concrete bridge with six concrete spans and the following specs:

Bridge length 122m
Span arrangement Six spans of 20.33m length each
Bridge width 4.47m
Carriageway width 3.8m
Lane arrangement Single lane

Following the destruction of the concrete bridge during Cyclone Gabrielle, a temporary bridge (bridge, ford or pedestrian bridge) was deemed not suitable for the location due to site restrictions, timeframes and costs.


  • Demolition is complete
  • Crushed concrete material from demolition is available to be reused in the rebuild to minimise environmental impacts
  • Steel material has been recycled locally
  • '1963' columns have been kept for a memorial

Puketapu Bridge post demolition

Design considerations

  • Possibly two lanes with pedestrian pathway
  • Increased height due to flooding risk
  • Increased pile depth
  • Longer spans and fewer columns
  • Earthquake considerations
  • Following best practice engineering guidelines and standards

Puketapu bridge examples

Puketapu School site visit

In October 2023, Puketapu School students visited the bridge site where they got to learn about various elements of the rebuild including geotechnical testing from our team of engineers. HDC are looking to keep the school involved in the project where possible. 

School visit


Feasibility study July 2023
Mana whenua engagement and site investigations September 2023, ongoing
Puketapu Community Meeting September 2023
Pre-application discussions with Hawke's Bay Regional Council and demolition October 2023
Puketapu School site visit October 2023
Tender process to confirm contractor November 2023-February 2024
Draft methodology and construction drawings TBC
Resource consent lodgement and processing Early 2024
Packaged design delivery TBC
Blessing ahead of works beginning TBC
Works begin First half of 2024
Public open day TBC
Blessing to open bridge  Aiming for late-2025

Works completed to date

A feasibility study has been conducted to assess and the engineering challenges linked to each potential bridge crossing location. The study aims to propose bridge concepts that are achievable from an engineering standpoint. The feasibility report is based on the following:

  • Geometrics
  • Hydrology and climate effects
  • Geotechnical/geology considerations
  • Environmental considerations
  • Constructability
  • Cost
  • Social impacts
  • Other factors

The team have also completed:

  • Ecological impact assessment
  • Archaeological assessment
  • Land contamination testing
  • Geotechnical borehole testing

 Borehole testing

Community meetings

Date Location Status
Thursday 28 September Taradale Town Hall COMPLETE

Tuesday 5 March, 6:00pm-7:30pm

Taradale Town Hall COMPLETE. Click here to view the presentation.

Details of further meetings will be added here, as and when confirmed.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following are answers to questions received via email and at the community meetings. For conciseness, questions similar in nature have have been grouped together.

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Puketapu Bridge

The old bridge has been demolished and materials recycled, kept for re-use or memorial. A series of investigations and consultation necessary to inform a detailed design have been completed. These include:

  • Cultural Impacts Assessment completed
  • Mana Whenua relationship established
  • Resource Consent Application submitted
  • Fish Management Plans
  • Ecology Assessment and reports
  • Land Contamination testing
  • Hydrology Reports
  • Geotechnical and Survey investigations and reports
  • Intersection Safety Improvement projects agreed with HDC 
  • Consultation with Unison on moving the power lines
  • Fish Management Plans
  • Ecology Assessment and reports
  • Land Contamination testing 
  • Hydrology Reports 
  • Geotechnical and Survey investigations and reports
  • Relocation of utilities (power lines and fibre cables)

This work has informed the development of substructure, geotechnical and abutment detailed designs which are now undergoing peer review.  

The tender process for construction has been completed and the early contractor involvement (ECI) contract has been awarded to Fulton Hogan. 

  1. Site establishment begins w/c 17 June 2024.
  2. Construction of temporary access roads, a temporary causeway, piling to the foundations, and the construction of the pier columns. 
  3. More engagement opportunities for intersection safety improvements in Puketapu Village 
  4. Bridge to open in May 2025

These concerns have informed planned intersection safety improvements at the following intersections and locations

  • Vicarage Road/Dartmoor Road
  • Puketapu Road/Dartmoor Road
  • Proposed new carpark at southern end of Puketapu Park. This would potentially improve safe access to the river. You can provide feedback on this proposal hereSubmissions to the form will close at 5pm Sunday 17 March.
  • In response to safety concerns around crossing Puketapu Road to reach the school, a kea crossing has been provided and the footpath has been extended on the western side of Puketapu Road.

Kea crossing Puketapu School

Puketapu Area

This is not something that is currently programmed but could potentially be looked at in the next financial year as part of improvements around the school.

Feedback on the proposed new carpark is now being sought here. This proposed design has been informed by a traffic safety assessment that was completed to provide advice on forming a safe entry/exit.  However in light of comments from the community, officers will work with the HDC Transportation Team and HBRC to explore alternative options for improving river access for the public which address some of the concerns around sightlines and speed.  We’ll report back on the results of this investigation in future communications.

Across the district, more than 800 slips were caused by the cyclone.  ​

All 590 less complex slips have now been cleared and repairs made. There are a further 212 larger and more complex slips requiring investigation and major construction to repair. Thirty-two of these ‘tier 2 and 3’ slips are on the Dartmoor Road (10), Puketitiri Road (17) and Glengarry Road (5) – see the map below. Due to the scale and complexity of the damage, design and construction of the repairs to the road and associated drainage requires engineering expertise and resource consents. A prioritised programme of works has been developed to repair these.

Council are working through the consenting and procurement process with Waka Kotahi NZTA and partners. As investigations and engineering designs are completed, contractors are being engaged to begin construction at each site.

Work is underway at sites along Dartmoor Road. Slips along Puketitiri and Glengarry Road are in design.

Slips image

From a review of the Crash Analysis System of crashes attended by the Police, there have been none noted on Springfield Road for the 2023 year. Nonetheless, it is possible that there have been non-injury crashes that have not been attended by Police nor raised with Hastings District Council (HDC). If you are aware of accidents at this location, we encourage you to report these to Police. 

Proposed flood protection measures associated with stop bank construction and/or repair is still being reviewed as part of the land categorisation process. This process is managed by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC). The emphasis is on making stop banks more resilient in terms of their construction going forward and the review is likely to be completed in the coming months. 

With the bridge out and the Puketapu community divided by the river, the Taradale Town Hall is the most central point for both sides of the community. 

Puketapu Park

With the help of local contractors and the community the following has been achieved to date:

  • Repairs to toilet and carpark facilities
  • Repairs to playground equipment and surfaces
  • Replacement of furniture and BBQ
  • Clearance of additional parkland for public use
  • Replaced cricket pitch
  • New play piece installed (dual slide and mini tree house), pictured below

Puketapu Park play piece

Funding from central government and local fundraising efforts means there is the opportunity to make the park more attractive to visitors by:

  • Regrassing the rest of park
  • Improving toilet facilities
  • Relocating archery area
  • Adding more play equipment and shade
  • Providing a new pathway link
  • Other recreational activities

The new bridge layout and associated intersection improvements mean there is the opportunity for Hastings District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to improve public access to the river with the extension of the pathway from the village and proposed additional carparking on the northern side of the riverA traffic safety assessment of this proposal was used to develop an initial carpark design and public feedback is now being sought in a survey. Feedback received from this and the recent community meeting will inform the development and design of future options. 

Puketapu Park parking

Road Maintenance

Yes. The silt task force is responsible for maintaining all impacts of the silt movement operation, and we will pass on this request. In addition to the inspections and maintenance already happening, we continue to encourage the community to report any issues requiring maintenance either by phone (06) 871 5000 or via the Hastings District Council website.  Doing so, will ensure this work is allocated to available contractors as a matter of priority.

In the event of road accidents or dangerous driving, please report these to Police in the first instance.

Yes. The silt task force is responsible for maintaining all impacts of the silt movement operation, and we will pass on this request. If they are unable to manage this, HDC will undertake it, and attempt to recover costs from the silt taskforce team.

Depends on the volume of material, and wind conditions. Brooming can create significant dust issues as well as road safety issues. We will try to make sure the right treatment is done that has the least negative impacts.

Yes. Any activity that alters the usual road conditions requires traffic management. However, we have requested a review of the traffic management in place to ensure that it is in line with what is required. 

During Cyclone Gabrielle the Tutaekuri River breached the Stopbanks, causing significant flooding to occur to the north of the Springfield Rd. This unprecedented volume of water all concentrated into the Turirau Stream and eventually lead to the overtopping of the Springfield Rd Culvert and road carriage way This caused significant damage to both the road corridor and cycleway on the other side of the stream. 

Hastings District Council (HDC) and Hawkes Bay Regional Council are now working through engineered solutions to reinstate the road as well as the replacement of the culvert and cycleway with targeted completion by the end of the year. 

Final location of the cycleway is currently being determined and following confirmation of this HDC will be assessing the structural options to replace the culvert.   

Dartmoor Temporary Bridge

Load limits are 40t at 10kph currently. Signage and traffic management is being updated.

All our temporary bridge and damaged bridge structures are being monitored at regular intervals. Targeted inspections are also occurring after significant weather events. This is to ensure we are identifying any structural deterioration before it presents an issue to the longer-term condition of the bridge. 

The weight limit for the Dartmoor temporary bridge was Class 1 General Access which was notified on the Council website and communications. Compliance with all traffic regulations such as speed and weight restrictions are trust-based however, where overweight vehicles are being observed, HDC does engage with Police to carry out enforcement action. In this case it is likely that the load crossing the bridge has exceeded both the gross mass and axle mass limits causing the damage. Investigations are ongoing to identify the vehicle that caused this damage.

Additional advanced warning signage of weight restrictions is being installed on Apley and Dartmoor roads on the approaches to the bridge to further support enforcement.

The temporary bridge is general access with weight and speed restrictions for heavy vehicles to manage dynamic loading. This was assessed and was a consideration in the removal of silt. Where vehicles are compliant with these restrictions, they are unlikely to cause damage to the bridge.  

Under Road Traffic Regulations, local government cannot restrict a weight limit less than that recommended by an engineer on a bridge. 

The suspected vehicle has been identified from camera footage on adjacent roads and Police are following this up. 

This is something that could be considered. Currently non-compliance can be followed up by footage from nearby cameras and spot-checkby Police. 


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