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Building resilience in Ohuka Road

ohuka qrs

Quality Roading and Services staff continue to maintain Ohuka Rd ensuring it remains a resilient lifeline for Ruakituri residents who are cut off from Wairoa.

“Once the bridge fully went out at Te Reinga, Ohuka Rd became residents’ only route,” says manager of routine maintenance, Michelle Hedley. “We’re making sure it can withstand the higher volume of traffic flow.”

Cyclone Gabrielle smashed out the middle pier of Te Reinga Bridge in February 2023 forcing its closure. It had already been closed to heavy traffic after being partially damaged in March 2022.

A temporary Bailey bridge is still some weeks away. Until then, a journey along Ruakituri Rd, Erepeti Rd and Ohuka Rd is the alternative route – turning a half hour trip into Wairoa a two-hour journey.

“We really feel for residents in the valley who face that long trip,” says Ms Hedley. Ohuka Rd is 30km long, unsealed along some stretches, and has suffered damage in recent flooding and cyclone events.

In response, QRS is shoring up the resilience of Ohuka and Erepeti Road by installing and repairing culverts and improving ground drainage. By mid-May nearly 3000 tonnes of metal had already been added to Ohuka Road. If weather allows in June, sealing is planned at the 23km and 25km marks to improve traction on inclines.

Wairoa District Council acting group manager community assets and services Mike Hardie says ensuring the alternative route stays open is essential for farmers, transport companies, and residents. “Access needs to be reliable and open to all classes of vehicle. It’s an integral part of our rural network right now and we’re doing all we can to keep that road open.”

Mr Hardie and Ms Hedley acknowledged the local community for their patience while work continues.

Photo credit: Brennan Thomas Strike Photography

30 May 2023

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