The Motu Bridge is a narrow, one-lane bridge with poor alignment on its approaches. Located on SH2 within the Gisborne District, it is approximately 70km north-west of Gisborne and 7.5km west of the small settlement of Matawai.
The project involves replacing the existing bridge with a new two-lane structure and improving the road alignment on the approaches to the bridge.
Investment in a new bridge will improve reliability of SH2 north of Gisborne, and will make journeys more efficient for freight.
The project objectives are to:
- provide a more reliable network north of Gisborne to assist with economic growth and productivity on the East Coast
- provide predictable, consistent and reliable journeys.
Constructed in 1930, the Motu Bridge supports the local farming community and the movement of goods between Opotiki and Gisborne. The 142km section of SH2 where the bridge is located includes 52 bridges. It is the only one-lane bridge on the road between Gisborne and Opotiki and requires ongoing maintenance. The bridge requires ongoing maintenance to keep it operating to capacity.
Recent investigations identified ongoing resilience issues on the route, highlighted by the 2012 slip at Waioeka Gorge (South of Opotiki). In the event that the bridge is closed, the alternative route between Gisborne and Opotiki, via the East Cape along SH35, adds an extra 185km (2.5 hours) to the jouney. This affects the movement of freight and the local farming community, which is significant given a high proportion of the vehicles using the bridge are classified as heavy vehicles, including tractors and freight trucks. In addition, minor travel time delays occur when vehicles have to wait to cross the single lane. There have also been crashes on or near the bridge resulting in minor injuries.
The replacement of the bridge will be funded by the Crown as part of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme.
Construction started in late 2016 and is scheduled for completion in early 2018.