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Split bridges add to detour complications

The weight warning sign on the southbound Colombo Rd Bridge. PHOTO/JAMES POCOCK

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The split personality of the Waipoua River bridge on Colombo Rd has resurfaced.

Masterton District Council senior communication adviser Steve Rendle said the bridge was two separate, but joined, bridges catering for one-way traffic direction each.

“If you’ve got nothing better to do with your time, you can walk under the bridge. You’ll see two distinct, different bridges right next to each other,” Rendle said.

However, the split personality presented a new problem this week.

The council said heavy traffic heading east would be diverted through Dixon and Church streets and Colombo Rd while the Te Ore Ore roundabout was built.

Masterton resident Richard Dahlberg was concerned heavy vehicles diverted over the bridge would exceed its weight limit

“Perhaps an occasional overweight truck may be okay, but five months of constant use could cause damage,” he said.

The southbound side of the bridge is affected by riverbed degradation and inadequate pile depth, and a sign advises a 44-tonne heavy vehicle limit.

Rendle said heavy traffic was never intended to be diverted through the southbound side, and the northbound side had no weight limit worries.

However, laden trucks were observed heading south on the bridge when photographs were taken for this story.

The bridge’s double life will not continue if council can help it.

An application made to the New Zealand Transport Agency to fund repairs for the southbound side of the bridge this financial year was unsuccessful. Repairs are expected to cost $3 million.

A new application has been lodged for the next round of the National Land Transport Fund, and the council expects to know the outcome in August or September.

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