Demolition of old Waikare Gorge bridge set to commence


Diggers will be on site at Waikare Gorge from Monday 30 October (weather dependent) as the old, collapsed bridge is demolished.

A Bailey bridge opened to traffic in May, reconnecting State Highway 2 between Wairoa and Napier after the concrete structure collapsed during Cyclone Gabrielle. 

Transport Rebuild East Coast (TREC) contractors will be on site for 5-6 weeks, using diggers and concrete crushers to demolish the concrete spans and old piles, before the material is removed from the river and trucked away to a local processing facility. 

TREC Project Director Tony Gallagher says the removal of the old bridge is an important part of the recovery of the road through the gorge, while a permanent solution for the road is confirmed. 

“The concrete piles and bridge spans present a risk that they could restrict the flow of the Waikari River during extreme weather events. 

“It’s taken time to plan the process of demolishing the bridge is done safely and as efficiently as possible. 

“One of the first things we need to do, even before touching the old bridge, is to remove all the build up of material and debris which initially contributed to the bridge’s collapse. 

Crews will be onsite from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday during this time. The work will mostly be carried out in the river and off to the side of the road, meaning any effect on traffic flow will be minimised.

The one way Bailey bridge is currently controlled by stop-go traffic lights and this will continue 24/7. At times, road users can expect delays of around 10 minutes as the demolition equipment and crew move on and off site. 

“TREC and Waka Kotahi are focused on building greater resilience into the road between Wairoa and Napier and while this work takes place, a permanent solution, the Waikare Gorge realignment project is progressing well."

The realignment project will bypass four kilometres of the existing State Highway, and will include a new 160 metre bridge across the top of the Waikare Gorge. For more information, please visit the project page. 

SH2 Waikare Gorge safety realignment

We expect disruption to road users from the demolition work will be minimised but we acknowledge there will be some delays for road users until the end of the work later in November. We want to thank road users for their support during this time.

The old bridge following the cyclone.

The new Bailey bridge.