A meeting was held on Friday 20th September at the Kuaotunu Hall to discuss the proposed closure of SH25 at the Kuaotunu Bridge.
Two main options were discussed:
1. Erect a Bailey Bridge
We were informed that both NZTA and Higgins (the Contractor) had looked at erecting a Bailey Bridge to allow traffic access to Whitianga. However, as the repair work is deemed to be a "non emergency", the Contractors and NZTA need to seek both Iwi and Resource consent. This would take time and further delay the repair work.
2. Open the Forestry Road to light vehicles
NZTA sought Earnslaw One's (the forestry owner) permission to use the forestry road for light vehicles. Earnslaw One denied access as they are currently felling in the area and require the road for logging truck use.
Higgins advise that the road closure is for a period of 5 weeks, weather permitting and are quietly confident that the repairs will be completed within this time frame, if not sooner.
So, as of 8.00am on Sunday 22nd September, SH25 is closed at the Kuaotunu Bridge. Whitianga can still be accessed via the 309 Road.
More detailed info from the community meeting
A Community Meeting was held on Friday 20 September to discuss the closure of the SH25 bridge at Kuaotunu from 8am on Sunday 22 September for up to 5 weeks. The meeting was facilitated by Brent Page of KRRA with assistance from Gary Towler, TCDC's Civil Defence Controller.
The main points were:
While this roading project is subject to weather conditions, it is hoped the repairs will be completed before the 5 week deadline.
The project involves removing the floor of the bridge in order to improve the piles and put in place a second skin that will hopefully prevent further erosion issues.
A temporary bailey bridge was considered by the roading contractors but found not to be practicable.
Using Wade Rd as an alternative route is not possible due to the volume of forestry harvesting being undertaken on this route and the associated risks of this.
The emergency services have made resourcing adjustments to ensure they can cope with any emergencies that arise.
Post and courier services will continue as usual.
Jannine Verner of Kuaotunu Katchup offered to set up a Facebook page to facilitate car pooling (see Kuaotunu and Surrounding Communities will Travel).
The meeting expressed interest in a bus service being set up to run from Kuaotunu to Whitianga; Jannine offered to run a poll on the new page to gauge interest in this.
Gary Towler is going to check with Higgins to ensure that no services (such as telecommunications) are affected by the bridge repairs.