Introduction

Trampers and hunters heading into Mid-Pohangina Hut in the Ruahine Forest Park will get their feet wet following the permanent removal of a swing-bridge crossing the Pohangina River.

Date:  15 March 2012

Trampers and hunters heading into Mid-Pohangina Hut in the Ruahine Forest Park will get their feet wet following the permanent removal of a swing-bridge crossing the Pohangina River.

DOC rangers Goggin pull the fallen bridge from the river. Photo by Andrew Mercer.
DOC rangers Duncan Toogood and Lyall Goggin pull the fallen swing bridge from the Pohangina River

During a regular structural inspection, a Department of Conservation Engineer found several structural defects and deemed the bridge to be unsafe. It was closed until it could be removed. Although options were explored, it has been determined that at present, replacement is not feasible.

Both ends of the bridge were cut on 14 March 2012. The fallen bridge was rolled up and flown out by DOC staff and local contractors.

The bridge was flown out by helicopter. Photo by Duncan Toogood.
The bridge was flown out in one piece by a local contractor

Representatives from DOC have met regularly with local user groups to discuss repercussions of the removal. Safety is a primary concern, but the standard outdoor safety code applies.

DOC Area Manager Jason Roxburgh explains:
“The river can rise quickly and get to quite high levels following heavy rain, but there are lots of other river crossings further along on this route, so the removal of this swing bridge won’t have a drastic effect. People should always use common sense when it comes to river crossings – if in doubt, stay put.”

The decision not to replace the bridge came about as part of a review of the department’s recreation investment practices.

“It is no longer sustainable to provide 50+ huts and extensive track networks in each forest park. We’re changing the way we do things at DOC to make sure we spend public money the best way we can,” says Mr Roxburgh. “Although it is dear to the hearts and minds of local trampers, at a national level Mid-Pohangina Hut and the surrounding tracks have low visitor use and provide a similar recreation experience to other facilities nearby.”

Contact

Andrew Mercer, Visitor Assets Programme Manager
Department of Conservation
Manawatu Rangitikei Area Office
DDI: +64 6 3509710
Email: amercer@doc.govt.nz

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