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Rain eased but 11 bridges a concern

5 June 2018, 2pm

Rain has eased in the Tolaga Bay area, river levels have dropped and 12 local roads remain closed. But 11 bridges in the area affected by the last few days’ rain remain a concern for Tairawhiti Roads.

Journey manager Helen Harris said their most significant concern was the Wigan Bridge on the Tauwhareparae Road out of Tolaga Bay.

“The bridge has moved at least 30cm and is twisted. As a result, Tauwhareparae Road from Paroa Road onward will be closed for at least two weeks. Engineers will have more information to us later today.”

MP Kiri Allan and Gisborne District Councillor Pat Seymour were meeting Civil Defence Uawa area coordinator Pop Milner this afternoon to view the worst-hit infrastructure, flooding and houses in Tolaga Bay and Whangara.

Helen Harris said the other 10 bridges of concern were the Mangatokerau Bridge, Paroa Road; a bridge in Andrews Road; Waiomoko Bridge on SH35 near Whangara; Mangaheia Bridge Nos 1-5 and Matai Bridge on Tauwhareparae Rd; and Seymours Bridge, Waiomoko Road, inland of Whangara.

“There are 61 bridges in the affected catchment area that will need to be inspected progressively over the coming days.”

She said clearing the debris away from underneath the bridges was no easy task with high river levels and difficulty in getting machinery in place.

“We are working with council’s environmental team to see where we can initially deposit all the debris. We can’t just tip it back into the river.”

Six crews of contractors are checking on other roads in the affected area but no other road closures are planned. Mata Road is an accessway and will remain open. Closed roads are the Paroa, Mangatokerau, Pa, Waiomoko, Arakihi, Kiore, Anaura Bay, Kaiaua, Waihau Bay, Glenroy, Tauwhareparae and Takapau roads.

Meanwhile, a dead horse sighted in the Waimata River under the William Pettie Bridge may be unpleasant, Helen Harris said, but it was not a current priority.


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