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External advice on Patangata Bridge ongoing

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External advice to determine ownership of the Patangata Bridge at Whakaki is still being sought by the Wairoa District Council.

In August the bridge was identified as structurally unsound for heavy traffic with a weight restriction imposed and the bridge closed to cars.

Bollards were installed to prevent vehicle access with foot and quad bike access still allowed.

The Patangata Bridge was built about 50-years ago to provide digger access to the beach so a channel from Whakaki Lake to the sea could be created.

The lake floods several times a year when the outflow is blocked by sand and while the channel meant floodwaters could exit it also allowed too much sea water to enter.

A different location was identified for the flood-relief earthworks, and although the bridge was no longer needed, it remained for local community use.

When the former Wairoa County and Borough councils amalgamated the Patangata Bridge was left off the asset register of the new Wairoa District Council.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said Council wants ownership of the bridge so it can apply to the NZ Transport Agency to attract a subsidy to get the bridge repaired.

“Our problem is Council can’t get funding for something it does not own.

“We are seeking external advice in order to be in a better position to identify options for the bridge repair.

A report commissioned by Wairoa District Council is currently undergoing peer review.

Mr Little acknowledged the community’s frustration at the length of time it was taking to address the issue.

“Council is aware of the cultural and commercial concerns occurring as a result of the situation and will be working as quickly and efficiently as possible to find a solution.”

“We are hopeful the report will prove council ownership so we can get this repair project underway.”

5 December 2019

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