Community members joined mana whenua, contractors and Hastings District Council at Ellis Wallace Rd on Friday to bless the temporary Bailey Bridge, which was then opened for use.
The Ellis Wallace bridge is the 10th temporary crossing to be reinstated since Cyclone Gabrielle, which destroyed 16 bridges, low level crossings and culverts across Hastings district.
Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst said repairing and restoring the crossings had been a key focus for council in the aftermath of the event.
“Like some others, this community was severely impacted by the cyclone – the loss of this bridge left residents cut off and people showed huge resourcefulness in the first days without any power and relying on supplies delivered via excavators and helicopters.”
“The railway bridge that remained standing was something of a lifeline, but the main strength came from this community and the way everyone pulled together to support each other.
“We knew how important it was for the community to have a safe way to cross, so it was exciting today to open this new Bailey Bridge.”
Mayor Hazlehurst thanked mana whenua who had given their time to bless all the crossings that had been re-opened to date, as well as the contractors, consultants and council teams
“The work doesn’t end here – although this is the last of the series of temporary bridges that have been installed to enable access for our communities, we need to now plan for the permanent structures that need to be installed.
“This is especially in areas that still have detours around longer routes.
“As such the programme includes permanent replacements for the likes of Vicarage (Puketapu) and Matapiro Bridges and larger culverts across the district such as Kereru Gorge and many others.”
The temporary Bailey Bridge required a significant amount of works on the approaches due to the river settling in a new location after the flooding.
It is just over 36 metres long, is open to general access vehicles and permitted vehicles over 50 tonnes, and has a speed limit of 10km/h.