New mechanised flood gates being installed on State Highway 26 at Paeroa will enable Waikato Regional Council to provide full flood protection to the community faster.
It is expected the gates – manufactured in the United Kingdom and being installed adjacent to the Criterion Bridge which crosses the Ohinemuri River – will be operational in early October.
Hauraki Zone manager Karen Botting said the new gates will replace stoplogs which require 10 staff up to 90 minutes to put in place to provide full flood protection.
“Already this year, council staff have been ready to deploy the stoplogs three times,” Ms Botting said.
“The logs are specially designed pieces of steel that have been in use since 1986. They’ve been very effective, but as a result of this project the community will be protected much faster. It will take two staff just minutes to close the gates.
“As part of this $900,000 project, we’ll be putting in footings over the next couple of months to enable the gates to open and shut at the flick of a switch. During power outages, the gates will be opened and closed using a winch,” Ms Botting said.
“The wider community benefits from the new gates too. Once the gates are installed, we’ll have more field staff available to deploy to other vulnerable locations during a flood.”
The project began this week and involves a significant amount of site preparation, including modifications to the existing stopbank. The council’s priority throughout the project is making sure the community continues to be protected from flooding.
Ms Botting said the work will affect pedestrians – particularly staff and students who attend the nearby Paeroa College – as well as motorists.
Traffic management will be in place over the next few months, with partial road and footpath closures possible on occasion.
To minimise the disruption to pedestrians, an alternative access way has already been constructed along the stopbank. It means people can still come and go on foot safely without having to pass close to the construction site.