Matapiro Road crossing

A permanent rebuild for Puketapu Bridge and a permanent replacement for Matapiro Bridge could be a reality by mid-2025. 

After focusing on installing temporary bridges and making urgent repairs to reconnect communities in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, Hastings District Council’s roading team and contractors had inspected the full 1640-kilometre network and simultaneously started on solutions for the major damage.

The result is a long list of rebuilds and repairs, estimated to take seven to eight years to complete.

As well as the 13 bridges that need to be completely rebuilt, another 40-plus need repairing, and there are five large and complex culvert rebuilds required.

Of Hastings’ 13,000 culverts, more than 2200 required cleaning and almost as many again required repair. This work is ongoing.

Puketapu Bridge will be the first permanent rebuild, aimed to be completed by the middle of 2025. This is expected to be followed by Matapiro Bridge.

Across the whole bridge work programme, priorities could change depending on the likes of engineering advice, and the availability of contractors and materials.

So far more than 500 simpler slips had been cleared, another 211 larger slips assessed, and solutions for 20 of the most complex are being designed.

In terms of roading, more than 30 kilometres were damaged in the cyclone – the vast majority in the rural area – affecting both sealed and unsealed roads.

Hastings’ deputy mayor and rural community board member Tania Kerr said given the scale of the damage, prioritisation of the repair and rebuild work was needed.

“Our contractors are working their way through the road repair and rebuild list, prioritising based on level of vulnerability in new weather events, and level of road use.”

Work on some of the larger culverts may take longer as materials are sourced overseas and have long lead times because of sea freight/shipping. 

“As well as focusing on the rebuild, the team is continuing with normal maintenance work. Drains are being cleared and sprayed out, and trees are being trimmed off the road corridor,” Kerr said.

Kerr said the team of engineers and contractors continued to work at pace recognising the importance of the rural network to the community to be able to continue to access work, school, family and fun.

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air


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