Grand Canyon Bridge opening fixes dangerous road erosion
What a privilege to be part of the historic opening of the Grand Canyon Bridge on the Pohangina Rd.
The October 24 opening was organised by the Manawatu¯ District Council in conjunction with locals.
This part of the road, which had a culvert to take a small creek under the road, was becoming very problematic and dangerous.
The sheer cliff where the water falls down into the Pohangina River was eroding the edge of the road away when an easterly wind blew water onto the road causing the edge to erode.
Our experienced roading manager Jim Mestyanek and his team went through all the options to find a solution.
Widening the road into the hill wasn’t an option because of the unstable nature of the soil, so the only option was to build a bridge. That wasn’t going to be cheap and an NZTA subsidy would have to be accessed.
But to get to that, an indepth business case study had to be presented to NZTA to justify the 53 per cent subsidy.
With all the production coming along the road and families living beyond the bridge, the need for an alternative road was required if the East Pohangina Rd was closed.
The council was successful in getting just over half the cost of the bridge paid for by NZTA. The NZTA subsidy was nearly $700,000.
The opening was run by infrastructure manager Hamish Waugh, with speeches from locals, Mayor Helen Worboys, Steve Bielski, and those who designed the bridge.
It was heartening to hear the words of Janelle Port on how MDC, especially Jim Mestyanek, communicated what was going to happen when the road was closed. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when there is open communication and all helping one another. To complete the day everyone was invited to afternoon tea.
An application for the funds to carry out possible replacement of the Mangaweka Bridge was made to NZTA on September 3 following the announcement of the National Land Transport Programme on August 31.
Once approved, Rangitikei and Manawatu¯ District Councils will proceed with the pre-implementation phase for construction of a new 132m long steel-plate girder bridge, 30m downstream of the existing bridge, on the basis that the existing bridge will be demolished.
The phase will include detailed design, property acquisition and consenting.
The Rangitikei and Manawatu¯ District Councils will make the final decision on the future of the existing Mangaweka bridge after receiving feedback from affected parties.
FARMERS Janelle Port and father-in-law Rod Port with MDC Mayor Helen Worboys at the opening of the Grand Canyon Bridge.