The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) advises that the Narrows Bridge, which crosses the Waikato River just south of Hamilton on State Highway 21, has been closed and a detour is now in place.
People travelling to Hamilton International Airport on SH21 are advised to allow approximately 30 additional minutes for their journey. The recommended route to and from the airport during the Narrows Bridge closure is via SH3 (Ohaupo Road). Detour signs are in place.
Narrows Bridge was reduced to a single lane on 31 August as a precautionary measure to reduce loads on the bridge while investigations were undertaken to assess erosion levels of the river banks in the vicinity of the bridge.
NZTA Acting State Highway Manager Michelle Te Wharau says the agency has been unable to continue monitoring the erosion today due to rising river levels. With further adverse weather forecast the decision has been made to close the bridge as a precautionary safety measure due to the potential for further erosion.
The closure of the bridge will be reassessed when the water levels drop to a point where further analysis of the river banks can be undertaken. It is hoped this analysis can be undertaken within a week, but this will be dependant on rainfall and river levels.
“We recognise that this bridge is an important link for both the travelling public and nearby residents. We will do everything we can to reopen it again as soon as we consider it safe,” Mrs Te Wharau said.