Speed and weight restrictions ahead for SH50 Ngaruroro Bridge


Speed and weight restrictions will soon be introduced at the Ngaruroro River (Fernhill) Bridge on State Highway 50, south of Napier, after a recent assessment identified the bridge does not have the capacity to sustain heavy traffic demands.

Ngaruroro Bridge on State Highway 50, south of Napier.

The Ngaruroro River bridge is one of a number of state highway bridges in the Hawke’s Bay region that are more than 70 years old and will need to be upgraded in coming years.

Central North Island Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations, Jaclyn Hankin, says while the bridge is currently safe to use, it no longer has enough capacity to sustain heavy traffic demands, in terms of both the number and weight of heavy vehicles.

“We have put a 30km/h speed limit in place, alongside weight restrictions for heavy vehicles, to protect the bridge from overloading and additional wear and tear, and to ensure it can continue to be used safely, while we progress next steps.”

New weight restrictions are as follows:

Number of Axles

Gross Weight















In the meantime, Ms Hankin says Waka Kotahi is commencing further investigations and detailed analysis to inform options that will support the application for funding.

“Ongoing inspections will continue, and additional monitoring may be implemented if required.”

Further details regarding when the speed and weight restrictions will come into force will be provided in the near future.

Update: Esk River Bridge

Detailed design for the strengthening of the Esk River Bridge on State Highway 2 is currently underway. The bridge has been under a 30km/h temporary speed limit since late August after it was identified that the bridge did not have enough capacity to sustain increased traffic demands.

Waka Kotahi is in the process of securing a contractor to undertake the repair works and anticipates starting construction towards the end of January, subject to availability of materials. The repair works will be undertaken at night to minimise disruption, and a full closure of the bridge will be required at times. Any closures will be well communicated in advance.

Waka Kotahi thanks everyone for their patience and understanding as we work to ensure the safety and resilience of these bridges.