Esk Bridge to be strengthened during overnight closures


Three weeks of overnight closures are planned for Esk Bridge north of the SH5 Napier – Taupō turnoff as engineers strengthen the structure.

The work will begin next Sunday night (30 April) and take approximately three weeks to complete.

The bridge will close overnight Sunday to Thursday at 9pm each night, reopening at 5am each morning. Access for emergency services will be maintained at all times.

Testing last year, prior to the cyclone, identified the 81 year old bridge does not have enough capacity to sustain increased traffic demands.

At that point the 30 km/h speed restriction was introduced on the bridge.

Outside the overnight closures, the existing 30 km/h speed restriction will apply, with possible closures required at times under stop/go traffic management.

Waka Kotahi Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says strengthening was determined to be the best option to extend the life of the bridge.

“Currently the bridge remains safe for everyone to travel across, at the lower speed of 30 km/h, to keep vibrations to a minimum to reduce additional wear and tear on the bridge structure and prevent further deterioration.

“We acknowledge that there is never an ideal time to do road works. To minimise disruption to road users it is also better to complete this work now, with SH2 still being closed to the public and with a very limited number of trucks using the road at night-time. 

“Despite the limited use, we know these overnight closures will still be inconvenient for residents and those who rely on this access, we want to thank them for their support and for their understanding,” says Ms Hankin.