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Kuripapango Bridge strengthening work

Kuripapango Bridge on the Napier/Taihape Road will be closed from 1 March until the end of May due to works to strengthen and widen the bridge.

Kuripapango Bridge headerKuripapango Bridge on the Taihape/Napier road will be closed from 1 March until June due to works to strengthen and widen the bridge.

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

The bridge is a narrow, single lane bridge and contractors will need to set up heavy equipment on-site, so no traffic will be able to use it while they are working.

Bridge closure and opening times

From 1 March until 1 June 2021:

The bridge will be fully closed to all traffic during these hours:

  • 9am to 6pm on Mondays and Fridays only
  • 7am to 6pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

The bridge will be open to cars and vehicles under 22 tonnes during these hours:

  • All weekends and public holidays
  • 6pm to 9am Mondays and Fridays
  • 6pm to 7am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

What to do in an emergency

If there is an emergency situation during the closure period, please call John or Kelly on
027 244 6246 or
06 879 6246.

They can radio the site and prep the site access in advance for the emergency vehicles to get through.

We are almost a month into our three-month Kuripapango Bridge strengthening programme, and works are on target to be done within our committed timeframe and within budget – with a 1 June completion date.

Please note: the bridge will be open to cars and vehicles under 22 tonnes during the upcoming holidays on: Friday 2 April, Monday 5 April (Easter weekend) and Monday 26 April (Anzac day).

Contractors have been working on the Napier side of the bridge first, and have completed 60% of abutment widening, 80% of steel strengthening (of the scaffold area), and have prepared 10 new deck panels which are ready to be installed.

Over the coming weeks, a crane will be mobilised on-site, and contractors will be focusing on the replacement of deck panels and remaining steel strengthening (of the scaffold area).

We're two months into our Kuripapango Bridge project, and works are likely to be finished slightly ahead of schedule.

Our contractors have made huge progress, having installed all of the deck panels on the Rangitīkei district side of the bridge. They are now working on the steel strengthening on the Rangitīkei district side, as well as guard railing works.


Why are we strengthening the bridge? 

  1. 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.
  2. It will improve productivity:

    Currently able to accommodate 42 tonnes, the bridge will be able to accommodate greater vehicle weights of up to 62 tonnes. This will mean 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, which could greatly improve productivity.
  3. It will better accommodate larger vehicles:

    The works will include widening the bridge so larger vehicles can better manoeuvre tight approaches to and from the bridge.

 For more information contact 06 871 5000.

Thank you for your patience while bridge strengthening work is completed.

Hastings District Council Deputy Mayor Tania Kerr and Rangitikei District Council Mayor Andy Watson met to discuss this project and the importance of this bridge.


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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