Frightening footage has emerged of a bridge in Tararua bending under the weight of flood water, large branches and debris before breaking and being washed away.
Local resident Tony was driving along Rakaiatai Rd, 25 minutes north-east of Dannevirke, when he and two neighbours suddenly stopped as the road began to bend.
The bridge was covered in flood water with branches and debris metres-high stuck on the left side of the bridge pushing against it, with the flood current compromising the structural integrity of the bridge.
In a matter of seconds, the bridge buckles under the weight, bending right.
The moment the bridge on Rakaiatai Road broke away from the road. Photo / Supplied
The force was so strong the weight of the debris and current pushed the bridge up, causing it to break and completely wash away downstream.
As it happened the bridge and road can be heard crunching and folding.
Tony told the Herald he had been down at the bridge earlier and the water had risen two-to-three metres in a matter of hours.
Within seconds the bridge was obliterated and washed downstream. Photo / Supplied
“I had been watching the river all morning. It had come up two-to-three metres, I happened to go back down and my neighbour was going to cross but decided against it which was good.
“I had been down there 30 minutes before and all the timber was there but there was no sign of any bow in it.
“When I got back down there we noticed the bridge bowing. Then that’s when it started to move. We thought ‘s**t, it’s going to go!’.
“It was a surreal experience. We were standing there in morbid fascination, watching the water churning around and logs smashing into it.
“The water on the top side of the bridge was probably a metre higher than the bottom side, there would have been an incredible about of force being put on that bridge.
“Then away she went.”
He explained a handful of farmers around the region would now be stuck until the bridge was fixed, unless they used other farmers’ personal bridges to quad bike across.
The bridge on Rakaiatai Road north-east of Dannevirke has been washed away. Image / Google
It’s just one of a handful of bridge that have been damaged or washed away in the past 48 hours.
A bridge about halfway between Napier and Wairoa on SH2 has been destroyed in wild floodwaters, as the full extent of damage to Hawke’s Bay roads is slowly being realised.
The Waikare River Bridge near Putorino collapsed on Tuesday morning following the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo / Rosie Tong
The Waikare River Bridge near Putorino collapsed on Tuesday morning following the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle. That major highway connects Napier with Wairoa and Gisborne.
A nearby resident said she saw the damage about 11am on Tuesday, but it likely happened much earlier in the morning. SH2 has been closed to motorists since Monday night.
It comes as another bridge between Napier and Hastings, Brookfields Bridge, was also washed away on Tuesday morning. A further five bridges around Napier and Hastings have been blocked off and deemed “impassable” by Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence.
Meanwhile, emergency services are working frantically to rescue “multiple people that are trapped and require assistance” in flood-ravaged areas near Napier.
That includes the areas of Waiohiki and Puketapu, which border the flooded Tutaekuri River.
Fire and Emergency NZ acting district manager Glen Vercoe said emergency services were using helicopters and boats to access stranded residents in that region.
It was hard to say how many people were stranded as the situation was evolving all the time, and more phone calls were coming in for help.
“There are multiple people that are trapped and require assistance,” he said.
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you