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Bridge building continues post-cyclone


The Mangatutu bailey bridge was opened to traffic on June 15, restoring a vital transport link for the rural community of Waihau. PHOTO/FULTON HOGAN

Council’s roading teams and contractors continue to make steady progress restoring access over waterways where multiple bridges were destroyed by ex-Cyclone Gabrielle.

To date bailey or temporary crossings have been installed at Rissington, Dartmoor, Ellis-Wallace, Arapaoanui, Matapiro, Moeangiangi, Mangatutu and Whanawhana.

As of last month, a temporary ford had been put in place at Matapiro, and work had begun on repairing Crownthorpe Bridge, which was expected to be complete by the beginning of this month.

All of these solutions have been designed to create access as soon as possible with the same level of service retained, but some of the bridges may be subject to weight and speed limits and, as with the rural roading network as a whole, remain vulnerable to further weather events.

As such, council is asking that their use be limited as much as possible to residents and essential services only.

Meanwhile, Council continues working towards restoring the other access points.

At Waiohiki, engagement has been taking place with the local and wider community regarding the reinstatement of the Redclyffe Bridge.

Deconstruction of the existing bridge began last month and it’s estimated that a temporary replacement will be ready for use by the end of July.

The installation of this bridge will help reduce travel times for the Puketapu community who have had to endure a lengthy detour since the Puketapu Bridge was destroyed.

Due to the river being 122 metres wide, a bailey bridge is not suitable as a temporary replacement for the Puketapu Bridge.

Options for a temporary light traffic bridge (with access for pedestrians, cyclists, and passenger vehicles) were discounted due to the complexity, cost, and it being anticipated it could take nine to 12 months to build.

Pedestrian-only access is also not possible due to the cost and lengthy time to install.

There will be community consultation (dates to be confirmed) and consideration will be given to constructing a two-lane bridge with a cycle/pedestrian lane.

It is hoped, dependent on funding, that construction of a bridge here could be completed over 18 months.

Council is currently considering options for the Brookfields Bridge, including the possibility of a two-lane bridge with cycle lane.

Depending on how the Government’s recovery funding will be structured, the district’s bridge projects may need to be prioritised.

1 September 2023

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