MP backs campaign to re-align bridge sites

By Lindy Laird

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Sue Reyland and the Matakohe Bridge Concern Committee want improvements to two one-lane bridges on SH12 near Matakohe, with Northland MP Mike Sabin backing their calls. Photo/File
Sue Reyland and the Matakohe Bridge Concern Committee want improvements to two one-lane bridges on SH12 near Matakohe, with Northland MP Mike Sabin backing their calls. Photo/File

Two bridges on State Highway 12 at Matakohe are death traps, Northland MP Mike Sabin says, and he is working toward getting their dangerous approaches re-aligned.

Mr Sabin will hold a public meeting at Matakohe to update the public on any progress.

He told the Northern Advocate he did not know where the re-alignment job sat on a list of Northland or national roading priorities and had no confirmation the project was "progressing as such", but he had uncovered some data and was building a case that might meet funding criteria.

His inquiries indicate that 10 people have died in crashes on or approaching the bridges, he said. Asked what period those figures related to, he said they went back to the 1960s and included anecdotal accounts of two deaths in the 1950s.

"I recently presented what amounts to a business case for re-alignment to the Northland Road Transport Committee (RTC) who are responsible for determining priorities for roading projects of this nature and am also working closely with NZTA on the best way forward," Mr Sabin said.

In 2012 Matakohe woman Sue Reyland was seriously injured in a crash on Anderson's bridge.

The Matakohe Bridge Concern Committee was then founded to campaign for the re-alignment of the bridges, and a petition with more than 1500 signatures handed to Mr Sabin earlier this year.

He said Kaipara district commissioners had also made it clear the re-alignment was their top state highway priority.

"The RTC and NZTA are now committed to a prioritisation process for this project for the next National Land Transport Programme which runs from 2015-2018."

NZTA's regional director for Auckland/Northland, Ernst Zollner, said Northland's current 2012-15 Regional Land Transport Programme did not include the bridges.

Structurally both were in good condition and well maintained, Mr Zollner said. Recent maintenance included the installation of skid-resistant surfaces, replacing timber decking and guardrails, improved signage, and removal of vegetation to improve visibility. NZTA crash records based on information provided by the police attending crashes showed that since 1980 there had been one crash fatality at Anderson Bridge in 1986.

Mr Sabin's public meeting will be at the Matakohe War Memorial Hall on Monday July 21, starting at 6.30pm.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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