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New Waiotauru Bridge Open for Visitors


New Waiotauru Bridge Open for Visitors

Visitors to Otaki Forks can now enjoy the new Waiotauru Suspension Bridge which has opened in time for the peak visitor season. Otaki Forks is the main western entrance to the Tararua Forest Park and offers a wide range of activities such as picnicking, camping, swimming and a variety of tracks and access to huts.

Photo By Wayne Boness

The new 62.5m long, 1.2m wide bridge has a 15 person load capacity and replaces the temporary swing bridge that was built after the original bridge was washed away in the January 2005 floods. The new bridge took approximately 6 weeks to build by East Quip Ltd from Napier. The main components of the bridge were prefabricated and assembled before being transported to the site to enable quicker construction time. It was fully load tested before it was opened to public use to make sure it met design parameters.

Wayne Boness, DOC Programme Manager Visitor Assets, says that the track system has changed somewhat with the new bridge in place. “Visitors will take a slightly different line to start on the major tracks. Temporary signs are in place that explains the new tracking system and we will have permanent signs in place early in the New Year,” comments Mr. Boness.

The process of replacing the old bridge took 2.5years from receiving funding, design, consents, tender and construction. The temporary swing bridge will be dismantled and parts will be used on existing bridges around the Forest Park.

Visitors tramping into the bush are encouraged to check the latest weather conditions, choose the type of track that most suits the skills and abilities of your party, and equip yourself well for a variety of changeable conditions. For further information on planning trips or facility information check: www.doc.govt.nz.


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