Otara Bridge closed to heavy vehicles

On Friday 27 January 2023, it was brought to our attention that there was damage to Otara Bridge, which is located approximately 3km north of Ohingaiti to the east of State Highway 1.

An engineering consultant was immediately engaged to inspect the bridge and initial investigations determined that a compression failure had occurred to a main structural component of the bridge.  As a result, the precautionary measure of reducing the allowable weight crossing the bridge to 6000kg gross was made and the speed limit has also been reduced to 10km/hr.

Various industry organisations, including the Road Transport Association and some local transport companies were contacted and advised of the restrictions to Otara Bridge.

Further investigations were undertaken on Monday, including utilisation of a drone to inspect the underside of the bridge. and following that the restrictions will remain in place. A structural survey and non-destructive material testing will also be undertaken in the coming weeks. We anticipate that it will take approximately six months to complete the investigation, design and carry out the repair of the bridge. This timeframe is subject to the availability of specialist contactors.

Variable Message Signage (VMS) boards were installed on SH1 on Monday, advising of the reduction of weight limits on Otara Bridge.  Signage was also installed on Otara Road advising of the reduction of weight and speed.  These signs were strategically placed to allow for traffic to turn around prior to the bridge.

We will be installing cameras and traffic calming devices on the bridge.  Camera footage will be monitored for compliance and any breaches will be passed on to NZ Police Commercial Inspection Unit (BCIU).

The bridge was strengthened in 2018 to accommodate General Access Vehicles (Class One), allowing truck and trailer units up to 46,000kg (46T) access between Manawatū District and Rangitikei District.

High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMV), 50 Max and overweight vehicles are not permitted to use Otara Bridge.

The results of the investigations will identify the severity of the damage and will help determine the length of time the restrictions will remain in place.  It will also provide us a basis for the repairs required and the likely cost.

Updated Wednesday 9 February at 10:30am