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Kuripapango Bridge strengthening work

Kuripapango Bridge on the Taihape/Napier road has been strengthened and widened so it could accommodate greater vehicle weights and dimensions, in line with government requirements. Works took place from March to May 2021.

Co-funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Rangitīkei District Council and Hastings District Council, the strengthening work was a requirement that arose after the Government put in place new restrictions around vehicle weights and dimensions in 2016.

Work was completed on Tuesday 18 May, and the bridge has now reopened to all traffic.

Why did we strengthen the bridge?

It's a government requirement:
The Government’s Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimension and Mass 2016 meant roads and bridges must accommodate greater vehicle weights and dimensions than before, and bridges that didn’t meet the new loading requirements had to be restricted. The objective of this was to make the country’s farms, forests and freight industry more efficient and profitable.

To improve productivity:
Previously only able to accommodate 42 tonnes, the strengthening work means the bridge can accommodate greater vehicle weights of up to 62 tonnes. This means farmers, forestry workers and other heavy vehicle drivers would be able to take increased loads over the bridge, and reduce the number of trips and hours spent driving, in turn improving productivity.

To better accommodate larger vehicles:
The bridge was also widened so larger vehicles could better manoeuvre tight approaches to and from the bridge.

Thank you for your patience while bridge strengthening work was completed


Project map

Kuripapango Bridge Project map


February until May is the most efficient time of year as winds are lowest, which means work will be less likely to be delayed for safety reasons.

As the bridge is a single lane bridge, the scheduled works require a more severe road closure than for previous bridge upgrades. Kuripapango Bridge would be fully closed while workers are on-site. When workers are not on-site, the bridge can accommodate up to 22 tonnes only. This is because workers need to hang scaffolding which absorbs 50% of the bridge’s normal load.

In the event of an emergency such as a fire, flood or other where people needed to get out in a hurry, workers would clear the bridge within 30 minutes allowing normal traffic to pass over it. Emergency services would be notified.

Making the road closure less severe would mean the works would span over many more months, which would cause further inconveniences over a longer period of time for road users.

Workers can only access the site and do their work by hanging scaffolding, which reduces the normal vehicle load the bridge can take, and requires a huge investment of costs and time. Lessening the road closure would cause huge inefficiencies, as scaffolding would need to be hung and removed multiple times.

Yes. The Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimension and Mass 2016 meant Hastings District Council had to screen all existing bridges in our district and check if each bridge could accommodate the new general limit or more. If they couldn’t, we had to consult with the community over the impact. Consultation was via community meetings, consultation via the Long Term Plan and stakeholder workshops.

Once Kuripapango Bridge has been strengthened, the portion of the Napier/Taihape route under Hastings District Council’s jurisdiction will a High Productivity Motor Vehicle route e.g. it accommodates up to 62 tonnes. Council has already upgraded four bridges on Taihape Road (Pukehamoamoa, Kawera, Blacks and Tois), to make them HPMV. Kuripapango Bridge is the final gate to make the Napier/Taihape route HPMV.  For more information on the vehicle weights bridges can take head to the Bridge Information page.

The bridges on the Napier/Taihape route under Rangitīkei District Council’s jurisdiction are class one, e.g. can take up to 46 tonnes. Questions about these bridges should be directed to them, or you can their website.

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