Trucks, buses and other heavy vehicles can now use Patangata Bridge again with the bridge reopening to vehicles up to 44 tonnes today.
Of the 69 bridges damaged from Cyclone Gabrielle, the 99-year-old Patangata Bridge was one of several that suffered significantly. It was closed after the cyclone for assessment, and then reopened with a 3.5 tonne weight limit, due to the risk of further damage.
Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay Alex Walker said restoring full access to the bridge has been a top priority for Council and a collaborative effort with community and contracting partners to strengthen it.
“As the primary connection between Elsthorpe, Kairakau and the townships of Waipawa, Patangata and Otāne, the bridge is an important lifeline for our communities. It not only serves locals travelling to work and school, but it is a vital link for our rural economy,” Mayor Walker says.
“The restricted weight limit has seen on average, 30 trucks a day having to face lengthy detours to reach the areas they need to service and closures throughout the strengthening period.
“A huge thank you to our local communities for their patience. We have appreciated your support and understanding as we have fixed this vital asset for our district.”
Mayor Walker said as part of its recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle, Council will be looking at how they can improve the long-term resilience of the bridge and other key networks to support full access in future weather events.
“The $35.9 million we received from Waka Kotahi runs through to the end of June and was earmarked for improving resilience over winter and restoring heavy vehicle access for nine high priority routes, including the bridge.
“We are acutely aware that the damage extends beyond these areas. We still have around $115 million worth of roading damage across the district that we need funding for. The funding announced over the weekend from Central Government for roading repairs is welcome and we look forward to further announcements about how and when we can access these funds.”
Mayor Walker said once they have this detail, Council will be back out to the nine localities they have recently met with as part of their Community Conversations.
“There will be decisions we need to make together about our approach to rebuilding roads and bridges, and where we need to focus the additional funding we get as a district across the roading network.”
The Council has just completed a first round of Community Conversations across nine localities last month, which it used to inform the first edition of a recovery locality plan.
The second edition, which is due for completion in the second half of the year, will be built on more direct consultation with the community and have a much longer-term focus.
People can subscribe to recovery updates here https://www.chbdc.govt.nz/our-council/cyclone-gabrielle/
15 May 2023
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