Northland footbridge closure affects beach goers

  • 31/12/2015
(File)
(File)

A Northland footbridge which connects holiday homes to the nearest store has undergone temporary repair and will be open for limited use.

The Whananaki footbridge linking the north and south sides of the town was closed after a bridge pile was damaged about 40m from the northern end, by either a boat or large object.

Whangarei District Council contractors have temporarily repaired the damaged bridge to allow people to cross, although it can only be one person at a time across the affected area.

"The bridge will be closed again around midday today for further work, and will reopen around 8pm today," Whangarei District council group manager of infrastructure and services Simon Weston says says.

The affected area is 40 metres from the northern end of the bridge. When the bridge re-opens, the one person a time policy will remain.

"We are erring on the side of caution until permanent repairs can be carried out in the new year," Mr Weston says.

Whananaki Holiday Park staff member Angie Hetherington says it is "a bit of a mystery" as to what damaged the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere.

She said she was surprised there had not been a calamity on the water, in view of the substantial damage done to the bridge, which she described as a "hit and limp away".

Campers used it to walk from the holiday park on the north side, across to the south-side beach.

Those with baches on the south side had to drive 6km around to the north side if they wanted anything from the local store.

It was possible to wade across at low tide, but in knee-height water it was too difficult for the elderly and children, she said.

She anticipated those on the south side were rallying around each other to make joint trips to the store.

Whangarei District Council has advised boaties to use caution when approaching the damaged bridge, and for bridge users to respect the restriction.

3 News / NZN