Speedy effort on Bark Bay Bridge

Last updated 13:00 21/01/2013

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Walkers on the Abel Tasman National Park's coastal track are asked not to use the temporary Bark Bay Bridge during periods of heavy rain when the creek is running high.

The precautionary warning comes from the Department of Conservation's Motueka area manager, Martin Rodd, after the former 21-metre steel and timber footbridge washed away in a flood last Tuesday.

The heavy bridge was twisted and torn in two by the force of the water rushing down Waterfall Creek, in the northern corner of Bark Bay, which ripped it from its foundations.

Mr Rodd said staff had been under pressure from commercial operators to replace the structure. They quickly engineered a temporary bridge from new material and some of the original structure, which opened on Friday.

Signage asks walkers to cross the waterway at the estuary when the creek is running high and lapping the footbridge.

Mr Rodd said it could be some time before a new higher bridge was built. He hoped DOC would be able to replace the structure with a swingbridge, but that could cost tens of thousands of dollars, he said.

Meanwhile, with the return of fine weather and resulting increase in fire danger this week, park users were reminded to light fires in only approved fire-pits.

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- Nelson

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