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Dropout delays bridge rebuild

A DROPOUT has delayed work to build a new $400,000 bridge to one of this region’s top tourist attractions.

Replacement of the Horoera Bridge, east of Te Araroa, was due to begin but a dropout on East Cape Road at the weekend means contractors can't access the site.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said it would take four days to replace the Horoera Bridge leading to the historic East Cape Lighthouse.

The $400,000 project replaces a bailey bridge and single-lane concrete bridge. It is the first in a $1.5 million package of three, Crown-funded tourism-related road projects announced in February at the release of the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.

“The new bridge will support tourist vehicles such as buses and camper vans, allowing a growing number of tourists to drive right to the foot of New Zealand’s most easterly lighthouse,” Mr Bridges said.

The project, which is being delivered by Tairawhiti Roads, would also support high productivity motor vehicles and boost the resilience of the route.

The section of East Cape Road from the bridge to the lighthouse will close for four days while the new bridge is lifted into place. Gisborne company Ritchie Civil won the tender to build the bridge.

Removing the old bridgeTairawhiti Roads general manager Dave Hadfield said the dropout at the 3.5km mark meant contractors could not remove the existing bridge.

Mr Bridges said work was progressing on two other Crown-funded tourism-related transport initiatives.

A $700,000 upgrade of rest area facilities on State Highway 35 will develop safe stopping places and facilities for tourists, and install information boards promoting regional attractions.A $400,000 project to improve the 7km cycle link between the State Highway 2 Rere Falls Heartland Ride and the Motu Trails Great Ride would significantly improve safety for cyclists and traffic.“These three projects directly reflect the roading and tourism priorities developed as part of the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan, particularly the need for investment in core tourism infrastructure and development of visitor services around the East Cape Lighthouse, Tokomaru Bay wharf and cycle tourism,” Mr Bridges said.

BRIDGING THE GAP: The old bridge to the East Cape lighthouse on East Cape Road. File picture
NO ACCESS: A dropout on East Cape road that appeared over the weekend has delayed a $400,000 project to install a new bridge to access the East Cape lighthouse. A four-day project, funded by the government, was due to start today but contractors, Ritchie Civil, were unable to get to the Horoera Bridge to remove the existing Bailey bridge. Picture by Kohi Collier