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Councillor moots Blue Bluff swing bridge solution


As Kāpiti Coast District Council grapples with the vexed question of how to reopen the road to Ōtaki Forks, Ōtaki councillor and architect Rob Kofoed says he has a solution.

Rob says the answer is to bypass Blue Bluff with two swing bridges across the Ōtaki River.

A concept drawing by Cr Rob Kofoed showing his solution that would reopen access to Ōtaki Forks. I
mage supplied

The area known as Blue Bluff has been closed to walkers and vehicles since September 2020 after a serious slip, the latest in a series since 2016. The resulting unstable hillside has made access along the road to Ōtaki Forks and Tararua Forest Park dangerous.

“As a council, we’ve been talking about a solution for ages,” Rob says. “We’ve had lots of expert geotechnical reports that clearly indicate the area is unstable.

“The debate has been about whether possibly millions of dollars should be spent on stabilising the slip area, or saving money and closing the road altogether. What I’m suggesting is a cost-effective solution that will allow access and keep the great forest park tourist attraction open.”

Rob’s concept would mean land bought from current owners and the swing bridges would be only for walkers and cyclists. However, he suggests a 500-vehicle car park area before the slips from where visitors can walk or cycle, a hub further past the slips and a a shuttle service at busy times could take people to the DoC camp ground and entry to Tararua Forest Park.

He says he submitted his proposal for a council briefing in June last year and is considering resubmitting it at a meeting on May 9, when councillors are scheduled to again discuss the fate of the slip-prone road.

In March this year, councillors received updates from staff after further geotechnical and engineering investigations into options for re-establishing access through Blue Bluff.

In a statement to Ōtaki Today, mayor Janet Holborow said: “We understand the importance of the area to our community and visitors alike and know there is a lot of interest in seeing this resolved.

“The area is unstable and extremely vulnerable to the effects of weather and other influences, and there are many factors to consider before a decision about future access can be made. 

“We hope to be able to make a decision when council meets in May, but will take time if necessary to ensure we’ve considered all of the options and issues.

“It’s a very difficult decision with no easy answers.”

Councillor moots Blue Bluff swing bridge solution



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