Speed bumps to be installed by Pauariki Bridge in Mata Road
Drivers using Mata Road are being asked to slow down and take care when approaching Pauariki Bridge. Speed bumps are being installed next week to make sure this happens and damage to the bridge is minimised.
“This is a one-way bridge that is 75-years-old and 3.6m wide,” says roading engineer Dennis Malone. “Many vehicles - particularly heavier trucks - are hitting the bridge at high speeds. This is causing regular damage to joints and rails. Recently river scour has undermined an abutment and this along with damage from high speed impact raises safety concerns.”
Should the bridge continue to deteriorate it will require early replacement or load restrictions. This will be necessary to keep users safe but it will also be an inconvenience. A ford crossing for heavy loads could be formed for use when the river is low.
Weather permitting work will start installing the speed bumps from next Wednesday (13 April 2011). Traffic counters will also be installed to confirm heavy traffic numbers and approach speeds.
“To replace the bridge we are looking at $1M plus. This would be a major project for Council and would be reliant on meeting New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) funding criteria. The last bridge Council built – at Wharekahika – was a 10-year-plus project. It is worth putting some effort in now to extend the life of the Pauariki Bridge,” Mr Malone added.
Pauariki Bridge is on Mata Road approximately 4.5km from the main road south of Tokomaru Bay.