Bridge repair bill mounts

Several local bridges marked off-limits to freight and forestry vehicles.

Several local bridges marked off-limits to freight and forestry vehicles.

A HANDFUL of rural bridges have been marked off-limits to some freight and forestry vehicles because they are not strong enough to cope with heavy loads, adding to a mounting future repair bill.

Te Hau Bridge on Te Hau Road, Waitangi Access Bridge, Waitangi Road, Bridges Bridge on Whakarau Road, Mokonui Bridge on Wharekopae Road, Saddlers (New Bridge) Bridge on Saddlers Road, Puhapata Bridge on Poroporo Road, and Oweka Bridge on Waikura Road have all had truck restrictions placed on them following the latest round of annual bridge evaluations.

The evaluations determine if the bridges are capable of carrying loadings for trucks and High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMV), over 44 tonnes, and the level of loading they could safely carry.

“The latest review has major implications for landowners living in the rural parts of our community,” said Tairawhiti roads general Manager Dave Hadfield.

Speaking at Gisborne District Council’s assets and infrastructure committee this week Councillor Graeme Thomson said there were some "daunting dollars and cents” figures associated with bringing the region's bridges up to scratch in the long run.

There were now 60 bridges that had been identified as in need of upgrades over the next 15 years, with another 83 bridges yet to be assessed.

“‘It’s almost a grave concern to think just how we are going to manage this.”

Cr Brian Wilson warned that isolated forestry block owners, expecting the council to upgrade bridges on one-off occasions, needed to be realistic about that.

Forestry operations and freight truck operators would have to be informed of the latest restrictions.

Mr Hadfield added that the council was in the process of contacting owners of stock and forestry in the area, to discuss new health and safety requirements for these bridges and how they might affect travel routes.

See the council’s website for full restrictions www.gdc.govt.nz/bridge-weights-speed-limits.

A HANDFUL of rural bridges have been marked off-limits to some freight and forestry vehicles because they are not strong enough to cope with heavy loads, adding to a mounting future repair bill.

Te Hau Bridge on Te Hau Road, Waitangi Access Bridge, Waitangi Road, Bridges Bridge on Whakarau Road, Mokonui Bridge on Wharekopae Road, Saddlers (New Bridge) Bridge on Saddlers Road, Puhapata Bridge on Poroporo Road, and Oweka Bridge on Waikura Road have all had truck restrictions placed on them following the latest round of annual bridge evaluations.

The evaluations determine if the bridges are capable of carrying loadings for trucks and High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMV), over 44 tonnes, and the level of loading they could safely carry.

“The latest review has major implications for landowners living in the rural parts of our community,” said Tairawhiti roads general Manager Dave Hadfield.

Speaking at Gisborne District Council’s assets and infrastructure committee this week Councillor Graeme Thomson said there were some "daunting dollars and cents” figures associated with bringing the region's bridges up to scratch in the long run.

There were now 60 bridges that had been identified as in need of upgrades over the next 15 years, with another 83 bridges yet to be assessed.

“‘It’s almost a grave concern to think just how we are going to manage this.”

Cr Brian Wilson warned that isolated forestry block owners, expecting the council to upgrade bridges on one-off occasions, needed to be realistic about that.

Forestry operations and freight truck operators would have to be informed of the latest restrictions.

Mr Hadfield added that the council was in the process of contacting owners of stock and forestry in the area, to discuss new health and safety requirements for these bridges and how they might affect travel routes.

See the council’s website for full restrictions www.gdc.govt.nz/bridge-weights-speed-limits.

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