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Published: 2016-07-13 00:00:00

The Government’s announcement of $12 million in funding to replace the Kirikiri Bridge on state highway 26 near Thames will help pave the way for an upgrade to flood protection stopbanks in the area, says Waikato Regional Council.

Localised flooding in the Kirikiri area, exacerbated by the 75-year-old bridge, has caused frequent damage at times.

The new Kirikiri Bridge will be built slightly upstream from the current one. It will be three metres higher than the current one and the design will prevent debris accumulating underneath and contributing to flooding. Work on the bridge is expected to start late next year.

The council’s integrated catchment management (ICM) directorate has been working closely with the NZ Transport Agency in building the business case for the bridge upgrade.

“The design of the current Kirikiri Bridge has limited the standard of flood protection which can be provided by stopbanks under the Waihou Valley Flood Scheme to the local community,” said ICM director Clare Crickett.

“Now with the bridge redevelopment we will be able to look at upgrading the stopbanks in the area to significantly boost the level of protection provided.”

The council plans to work on obtaining resource consents for the stopbank upgrades this year and coordinate the construction of the flood protection works along with the bridge replacement project during 2017-2018.

“This will be the last part of the Waihou Valley flood protection scheme which couldn’t be completed back in 1995 due to the problems with the Kirikiri Bridge,” said Ms Crickett.