Road closure breaches mean full closure now needed for State Highway 53 Tauwharenīkau Bridge repairs


Following multiple breaches of a road closure for this critical maintenance project, NZTA Waka Kotahi is extending state highway closure plans for State Highway 53 Tauwharenīkau Bridge.

Wellington Alliance Manager Roxanne Hilliard says trucks are known to have crossed the bridge on Monday night (13 May), ignoring the traffic management controls in place to protect the bridge.

“The bridge is having its bearings replaced and is currently on jacks. This is why it has been closed to heavy vehicles. They pose a serious risk to its integrity, and engineers have had to do follow-up inspections to ensure the bridge hasn’t been damaged.”

“For safety reasons, we cannot risk a repeat of last night’s incident. It simply creates too much risk for our work crews and the bridge,” Ms Hilliard says.

It means the Tauwharenīkau Bridge is now closed to all traffic until repairs to the bridge are completed next month.

Ms Hilliard acknowledges that the extended closure will disrupt the daily lives of residents and regular route users, but says safety is the top priority.

“Unfortunately, given the events of last night, we have no other choice, and we are deeply disappointed we have had to make this call.”

“Investigations into the closure breaches and those responsible are underway, and NZTA/Waka Kotahi reserves the right to refer matters to police, if necessary,” Ms Hilliard says.

Disobeying a road closure is an offence under section 16A of the Land Transport Act 1998(external link)

Closure and works schedule:

  • Full closure of SH53 Tauwharenīkau Bridge until completion of repairs in June
  • Closure in place daily 24/7 – including weekends
  • All traffic will need to detour via Camp Road, State Highway 2 and No.1 Line back onto SH53.

Residents can access their properties via the detour routes during the closure.