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More trucks put strain on Ruapehu roads

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017

An increase in truck volumes on Ruapehu's roads is putting pressure on ageing rural bridges.

Drivers of heavy commercial vehicles have been told to avoid travelling between SH4 and SH30 on Poro O Tarao Rd, after a bridge was reported to be making "strange noises" as vehicles went over it.

Weight and speed restrictions have been imposed on the structure about 1.3km north of Waimiha until further notice, meaning most loaded HCVs will not be able to cross it.

Ruapehu District Council received an engineer's report last week advising that the restrictions were needed until repairs could be done.

Land transport team leader Warren Furner says the impact that increased truck numbers on Ruapehu's road network has been recognised for some time.

One example was the estimate that 36,500ha of forestry plantation was going to start reaching maturity from 2015.

Mr Furner said the bridge in question had a programmed maintenance and replacement schedule based on daily usage by fewer than 150 vehicles, with less than 10 per cent of those being HCVs.

"With the upsurge in forestry trucks, it has been seeing around 170 vehicles per day with 30 per cent of these being HCVs," he said.

To help compensate, the council adopted a "forestry differential rate" to support the land transport activity as part of its 2015-25 Long Term Plan.

This meant forestry block owners paid a bit more in rates towards the council's planned work programme.

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