Bridge strengthening programme supports local economy
The Hastings District Council’s bridge strengthening programme is ahead of schedule, and this week the council brought forward funding to complete work on a rural bridge in Putorino.
The strengthening is a requirement that arose after the Government put new restrictions around vehicle weights and dimensions in December 2017.
The council advanced this work promptly in 2018, after approving the programme in the 2018/28 Long Term Plan, in order to ensure key routes were accessible for the district’s freight demands, thus supporting economic productivity and growth in the region.
To date, bridge strengthening work has been completed on the following roads: Taihape, Kereru, Ohurakura, Napier and Pakowhai, as well as the previously restricted bridges – Red Bridge, Willowford Bridge and Berry Bridge.
Moeangiangi Bridge in Putorino services a large stock farming station that has no alternative routes to bypass it, and while interim solutions have been attempted since December 2017, a more permanent fix is needed to improve the bridge’s capacity.
In order to carry out the work this year the council will bring funding forward from the next financial year to this financial year, and the work is set to take place between January and May next year.
Hastings District Council deputy mayor and rural community board deputy chair Tania Kerr said the work to bring the bridges within Government regulations was vital to supporting the rural community’s contribution to the regional economy.
“Enhancing our transport infrastructure is a critical priority for this region to support expansion and growth plans that are underway, such as the Food Innovation Hub and other distribution hubs such as Hawke’s Bay Airport and Port of Napier.
“Rural communities rely on a resilient roading network to transport their goods, which benefits the economy. Our bridges are a key part of the link between rural families and their businesses, and the wider region.
“The council’s bridge strengthening programme has been progressing well to date and getting this bridge upgraded sooner rather than later is beneficial to all.”