Cycle bridge closed after thieves steal parts
The Great Taste Cycle Trail bridge across the Wairoa River is closed after the theft of supporting parts left it too dangerous to ride.
The bridge was left hanging from its top guy ropes after thieves removed the supporting custom-made turnbuckles for the anti-sway guys and tension wires.
The bridge, opened last year, lets cyclists get to and from Brightwater without going on the state highway.
But thieves removed two turnbuckles and two guy shackles on the eastern side, leaving the ropes hanging in the water.
The theft was reported to Tasman District Council on Monday night. The bridge was closed and will remain shut until replacements are purchased.
Some of the attaching plates were custom-made for the bridge and its loadings, and engineers are now working on building replacements.
Council cycle trail project manager Dugald Ley said the theft left the bridge in a dangerously unstable state.
"It would not have collapsed, but if someone had lost their balance and fallen from it, criminal charges could be laid."
Ley said the shackles had been laced together and a large industrial crescent would have been used to undo the stolen gear, which was under a large amount of tension.
He hoped the bridge would be re-opened by the weekend.
Until then cyclists travelling to and from Brightwater will have to come off the trail at Clover Rd or before and use the state highway, and vice versa.
Replacing the stolen gear will cost ratepayers about $1000.
Ley said he had no idea who would do such a thing. "Maybe it's someone who has a beef with cyclists - it's strange that they have gone to such an effort."
The Nelson Mail