PRESS RELEASE: Department of Conservation
The construction of a new pedestrian bridge over the Ohinemuri River at Karangahake Gorge Reserve carpark will begin in January 2018.
DOC has engaged contractors to build a new pedestrian bridge over the Ohinemuri River at Karangahake Gorge Reserve carpark. The project is a collaboration with Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Tara Tokanui and Hauraki District Council.
The new bridge will replace the existing 60 m suspension bridge (with a 10-person load restriction) with a 70 m suspension bridge and unrestricted pedestrian load. The new site is just metres downstream from the current bridge. MAP Projects Ltd are commencing construction in early January 2018. It is expected to take six months to complete the job, with the new bridge open by July 2018.
Jeff Milham, DOC Tauranga-Rotorua Operations Manager, is pleased to see the project get underway.
“This is the busiest visitor site in the district and we want to ensure we can continue to provide safe and appropriate access that is sustainable into the future.”
Mr Milham acknowledges that carrying out the construction during the busiest visitor period will cause some disruption, however he says there is significant risk associated with the river flooding while foundation works are being undertaken.
“Summer is the best time to carry out these works when river levels are at their lowest.”
Visitors might see a few less car parks available during the works but access to the walking tracks will still be available via the existing bridge. DOC encourages visitors to explore alternatives to Karangahake over the summer months.
Currently the site attracts about 80,000 visitors annually and DOC expects that numbers are likely to increase by about 10,000 annually for the next few years at least. The site is one of DOC’s 50 Historic Icons, where the stories of the site are told and protected.