• Video: Puketapu set to get new bridge by next year

Video: Puketapu set to get new bridge by next year

Having lost its bridge in Cyclone Gabrielle, the settlement of Puketapu is set to get a new permanent bridge by late next year.

The original bridge at Puketapu was a 129m swing bridge and was in place between 1906 - 1962. This was then replaced by a 122m concrete bridge with six concrete spans. Following the destruction of the concrete bridge during Cyclone Gabrielle, a temporary bridge (bridge, ford or pedestrian bridge) was deemed not suitable for the location due to site restrictions, timeframes and costs.

In an update on its website, the Hastings District Council said that the absence of the bridge has created a division within the community. It says that the goal is to deliver a permanent replacement structure to the community by mid-2025. The Council has also release a virtual flyover of the new Puketapu Bridge (see accompanying video).

The Council says that rebuilding the bridge on the existing alignment is the preferred approach to meet the required timeline and stakeholder expectations, The impact on fish spawning in the river isalso  being carefully considered throughout the project's planning and execution.

Demolition of the old bridge is complete and crushed concrete material from demolition is available to be reused in the rebuild to minimise environmental impacts. Steel material has been recycled locally and '1963' columns have been kept for a memorial.

The Council says that design consideratins include possibly two lanes with pedestrian pathway, increased height due to flooding risk, increased pile depth, longer spans and fewer columns, earthquake considerations and following best practice engineering guidelines and standards

A feasibility study has been conducted to assess and the engineering challenges linked to each potential bridge crossing location. The study aims to propose bridge concepts that are achievable from an engineering standpoint.

The Council says that the team has also completed ecological impact assessment, archaeological assessment, land contamination testing and geotechnical borehole testing.