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Wairoa builds better bridges

Jobs are being created and Wairoa’s bridges are being strengthened to handle heavy trucks thanks to $2.2 million dollars funding from the Provincial Development Unit, or PDU.

When completed, the project will provide the Wairoa District with a better road infrastructure, improving its economic potential.

The PDU’s Principal Regional Advisor for Hawke’s Bay, Cameron Osmond, says the Wairoa District Council and the PDU are working closely on the project.

“The PDU is backing this project to assess and strengthen Wairoa District’s bridges,” Cameron Osmond says.

“The aim is to ensure these bridges, especially those on smaller country roads, can handle heavy trucks, known as High Productivity Motor Vehicles, or HPMV.

“Once the project is completed, Wairoa will have a safe, future-proofed road network that will allow businesses to deliver their goods to markets without the present restrictions on load size,” Mr Osmond says.

“This will help these businesses thrive while providing economic growth and jobs to the people of Wairoa,” he says.

The large volume of timber expected to be harvested in Wairoa’s exotic forests over the coming decade is one factor being used to help identify bridges which need strengthening.

“Detailed work has been done looking at how much timber will have to be transported to market in the next few years. The result of that work has been used to identify high priority routes which need upgrading to full HPMV capability,” Cameron Osmond says.

“One of the key forestry routes over the next ten years is to the Mahia Peninsula which also serves as the only access route to New Zealand’s rocket launch facility, Rocket Lab.

“Improvements along this route will provide significant advantages and resilience to the Wairoa economy,” he says.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little says the work could not have been possible without the PDU.

“This is a great example of local and central government working together for the benefit of communities like Wairoa and I appreciate the PDU’s support,” Mr Little says.

“PDU staff have built a good relationship with us, ensuring important projects like this are able to be delivered to help our people.”

Cameron Osmond says the bridge strengthening project is already providing jobs.

“Currently, there are 17 people working on the project, with another 10 jobs expected to be created to fulfil the bridge contracts – two crews of five people each,” he says.

“On top of that, the concrete deck panel slabs for some of the bridges were manufactured late last year in Hawke’s Bay, providing further jobs for local industry.

“This investment also allows Wairoa to broaden the skills of its workforce, helping the district build capacity to handle similar infrastructure projects in future,” Mr Osmond says.

The latest bridge earmarked for upgrading is Doughboy Bridge on Ruakituri Road.

Work begins on Monday 18 January and is expected to take three weeks thanks to the decision to use the pre-cast deck slabs.

Because of the extensive work required to strengthen Doughboy Bridge, Ruakituri Road will be closed for this time and motorists will have to take a detour.

Other PDU bridge strengthening projects scheduled in coming months include the Mohaka township bridge.

15 January 2021

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