Wiremu Road Closure Extended
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Wiremu Road, between Ngariki and Kina Roads is being closed for an additional four weeks while a bridge is being widened.
South Taranaki District Council group manager of engineering services, Neil McCann was not happy with the need to extend the road closure but says options were limited.
“The project to widen the single lane bridge on Wiremu Road (bridge 114) to two lanes has been fraught with problems from the start,” says Mr McCann.
“The initial intention was to do the work without closing the road at all. However once excavation on the bridge began the instability of the banks and the large number of boulders underground meant the contractors had to completely redesign the bridge and rethink their approach which necessitated the closure of the road,” he says. “And significant rain during the project has only hampered progress further.”
Mr McCann says he had two options. One, stop the project, re open the road and start again in October when the weather would be better, or keep the road closed for an extra four weeks and get the bridge finished once and for all.
“I decided to extend the road closure and get the job finished now because it would affect less people in winter when there is much less traffic and no milk tankers using the road. This is why we tend to do bridge widening in the autumn months when there is less traffic, but the trade off is that work can be hampered by bad weather,” he says.
Mr McCann realises some Wiremu Road users won’t be happy about the extended closure because of the significant inconvenience it may cause to their travel times but he hopes they understand the decision.
“I can understand why people may be frustrated about the time taken to finish this project because I’m frustrated too. But I believe the right decision is to get it finished now,” he says.
The Road closure has been extended to Friday 8 July, although if good weather enables work to progress more quickly it could be opened sooner.