Four months after Cyclone Gabrielle caused major devastation across the East Coast, the final connection on State Highway 35, north of Gisborne, will be restored next week with the opening of the Bailey bridge to replace the Hikuwai no. 1 bridge destroyed by the cyclone.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says the Bailey bridge, which is located between Tolaga Bay and Tokomaru Bay, will be open for road users from 8am on Thursday 15 June. The bridge will be officially opened at a blessing ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.
Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says the opening is a huge milestone for the region’s response efforts.
“Like so much of our recovery work over the past few months, the work at Hikuwai wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work from our contractors or the support from communities up and down SH35. We know the delays to people’s daily travel have been disruptive and frustrating and we’re looking forward to restoring this key state highway connection next week,” says Ms Hankin.
As with the recently opened Waikare Gorge Bailey bridge on State Highway 2 between Wairoa and Napier, this bridge will be open 24/7 to vehicles up to 50 MAX. This means school buses, stock trucks, freight trucks and some forestry trucks can use the bridge. The bridge is one lane.
A temporary speed limit will be in place for the bridge with traffic management in place to guide road users across safely.
Work on the Bailey bridge progresses. Photos taken a week ago.