Ratepayers shouldn’t pay for the damage attributed to a Waka Kotahi diversion south of Ngāhināpouri, says a district councillor.
A SH39 weight restriction was placed on the soon to be repaired Mangaotama Stream Bridge late last year, resulting in heavy vehicles using a narrower detour, with blind corners and one lane bridges. The detour follows Meadway Road, Hams Road, Forkert Road and Ngāhināpouri Road.
Residents have complained about the heavy vehicles but attempts to encourage trucks to use SH3 and SH1 via Te Awamutu and Hamilton has been met with limited success. For two weeks next month it’s likely to get worse.
The weight restriction was imposed because it has been decided the bridge superstructure
should be replaced. That work, to start next month, involves removing the bridge deck and supporting beams before installing new beams and a deck which are being built offsite.
Councillor Bruce Thomas said the detour is too narrow for the trucks and has caused them to drive on the edge of the road when passing other vehicles, resulting in damage.
“It has put a lot of pressure on that road… it is still drivable, but somebody needs to pay for it, and the ratepayers shouldn’t be. The trucks have to go somewhere; they’re just doing their best.”
Waka Kotahi hopes to complete the work in two weeks but say their efforts will be weather dependent. All traffic will be diverted to the detour roads during this time
“If you’re travelling between Ōtorohanga and north of Hamilton you’re best to avoid State Highway 39 between June 13 and June26,” said Waka Kotahi Waikato system manager, Cara Lauder.
After the work is complete the bridge will be close to one metre wider, and its current weight and speed restrictions will be lifted.
Waipā District Council transportation manager Bryan Hudson said temporary repairs are being conducted on the detour roads, and once the bridge is complete, permanent repairs will begin.
“When the highway bridge is replaced and detour disestablished, we will complete permanent repairs to the road surface,” he said.
Thomas who once lived near the bridge, said from 200 metres away the vibrations from trucks shook his house.
“I’m surprised it has taken this long to fix,” he said.