Safety concerns over Waimarino rail over-bridges

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2021-04-19T16:23:00 Pacific/Auckland

Mon 19 Apr 21

NEW RESTRICTIONS & MONITORING FOR WAIMARINO RAIL OVER-BRIDGES ON MAIN TRUNK LINE

New restrictions and compliance monitoring cameras are being installed on the Ruapehu Rd and Mangateitei Rd rail over-bridges between Ohakune and Rangataua.

Team Leader Land Transport Andrea Nicol said that the new restrictions and video monitoring are as a result of increasing health and safety concerns over the bridges.

“Both bridges are of timber construction and have failing components,” she said.

Council routinely receives reports of overweight trucks using the two bridges despite clear signage and other communications to bridge users on the restrictions.

It is very frustrating that drivers are continuing to ignore the weight restrictions and putting themselves and others at risk especially with both bridges crossing the main trunk railway line and having alternative routes available.

Although the Ruapehu Rd rail over-bridge has a weight limit of only 3.5 tonnes which means that it should only be used by cars or similar sized vehicles it is regularly used by heavy vehicles.

To prevent trucks using the bridge Council is installing chicanes which will physically restrict the length of vehicle able to cross over it.

Likewise, the near-by Mangateitei Rd rail over-bridge which has had a higher 70% weight restriction is also seeing regular use by overweight vehicles.

Bridge engineers have recently relooked at the 70% restriction and are currently in the process of determining if this is too high and whether it should be restricted further.

Ms Nicol said that the installation of the compliance cameras at both bridges highlights the serious nature of the risk.

“Due to the risk of a catastrophic bridge failure from overweight vehicles using the bridges the Police have been clear that people who ignore the weight restrictions could face prosecution.

Overloading speeds-up the deterioration of the bridges which could lead to one or both of them needing to be closed.

We urge all drivers to observe the weight and speed restrictions on all bridges and keep themselves, other road users and railway workers safe,” she said.

*END*

Chicanes are being installed at the Ruapehu Rd rail over-bridge to help limit the size of vehicle that can cross over it. The old wooden structure bridge is currently limited to 3.5 tonnes which means cars and utes only.

Page reviewed: 19 Apr 2021 4:23pm