The Ruakituri community will hold a meeting this evening (Monday 11.04.22) to discuss the roading and community needs following the closure of the Te Reinga Bridge which has literally split the isolated rural community in two.
The bridge was closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic last Tuesday due to significant structural damage.
The meeting will be attended by Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri and Wairoa Mayor Craig Little who will also visit farms in the area to witness the devastation and slipping caused by the recent heavy rain event.
Mr Little said Council commends the community for the resilience and ingenuity they have demonstrated to date and thanked them for organising the meeting and hosting visitors.
The Council focus remains on repairing the Te Reinga Bridge, gaining pedestrian access and maintaining the alternative Erepeti/Ohuka route.
The Te Reinga Bridge is very unstable, and the span is too wide for a temporary bailey bridge to be installed. The first task is to stabilise the bridge so more work and investigations can be carried out
Mr Little said Council is working with all stakeholders and he cannot over stress the need to drive carefully on the alternative route as there are some areas which are impassable for two vehicles. “I know this is very inconvenient and a huge cost in time, money, fuel, education and employment and we will work as quickly as possible to make as much progress as we can.
The alternative route is not used to a lot of traffic and is now expected to have three times the number of vehicles on it.
A safety audit of the route has been carried out and diggers and graders are on the road widening it where they can.
Forestry have stopped harvesting in the Ruakituri and scaled back their operations to assist with the current issue. Eight loads are being carted out per day and it is expected to take about a month to transport the felled logs out.
Mr Little said the transport of logs will take longer than he was originally advised, and Council is working with forestry to see how we can mitigate any impacts.
“We took our funding partners NZTA Waka Kotahi around the district on Friday. They were very surprised by the devastation that they witnessed first hand and through a video presentation.
“They will be re-visiting later in the month and meanwhile staff are working through the process to be able to submit a funding application.
“Mr Little said it was a positive meeting and Council will continue to work with NZTA.”
11 April 2022
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