The 36-metre Arataki Swingbridge across the Mangakino Stream was originally constructed in 1978 by the New Zealand Forest Service. It links cycle trails from Waikato into the popular Pureora Timber Trail.
DOC temporarily closed the bridge in January when staff noticed it was hanging unevenly.
Te Kuiti-based DOC Operations Manager Oscar Emery says with organisers of the non-profit Tour Aotearoa bike-packing event planning to use the bridge for their February ride, an urgent repair to the bridge was needed.
“The Pureora Forest includes some fantastic cycle trails and scenery, and we wanted to ensure the riders in Tour Aotearoa could use the bridge as part of their journey through this part of the country,” Mr Emery says.
Mr Emery says an estimated 200 hours of staff time have gone into assessing, repairing and testing the bridge, which is made from steel mesh and cables.
“The team worked really hard in some hot conditions to excavate footings at the bridge and replace a range of elements fundamental to its structure. We’ve carried out a load test to ensure it is structurally sound, and now it’s ready for Tour Aotearoa riders to enjoy.”
Mr Emery says Tour Aotearoa organisers crowd-sourced more than $10,000 to support DOC to undertake the urgent repair on the bridge.
“To have Tour Aotearoa help us make this happen is a great example of how DOC can partner with its stakeholders to achieve results allowing people to enjoy really fabulous experiences on public conservation land.”
Tour Aotearoa Organiser Jonathan Kennett credited DOC staff for their willingness to get the repair undertaken just a few weeks out from the event.
“DOC did an incredible job and we are so happy the bridge has been repaired so quickly,” he says. “The alternative was a very long detour involving highway riding.”
Tour Aotearoa participants are expected to cross the Arataki Swingbridge later this month, and it is also open to casual riders and walkers.
Cyclists planning to use the bridge may need to remove panniers from their bikes and will need to cross one at a time.
The Arataki Swingbridge can be accessed from Titiraupenga Rd or Arataki and Pakonui Rds.