Come watch Paeroa’s new floodgates in action.
Waikato Regional Council is holding an open day on 11 August, 9am-11am, to demonstrate how the mechanical gates work and talk about why they are so important to protect the community.
The floodgates, which fill the gap in the stopbank where State Highway 26 runs through, were installed in August last year and as yet have not been used during a flood event.
They were built by Flood Control International, a company in the United Kingdom, who build flood protection assets all across the world. They were the biggest gates the company had ever built.
The gates slide along a rail across the road, near the Criterion Bridge, and when they meet they get lowered about 30-40 millimetres for a perfect seal.
Before the gates were installed, Waikato Regional Council staff had to construct a Lego type wall to hold back floodwaters from the Ohinemuri River. The pieces were very heavy and it took 10 to 12 staff up to an hour to build the wall between the stopbanks, and it was always touch and go to get it done before the water came through.
Regional council chairman Alan Livingston said if Paeroa didn’t have the stopbanks and floodgates, the town could go under metres of water.
“These gates are a very important piece of infrastructure protecting the town and its residents. When the Ohinemuri River floods, the floodgates keep the water away from people, buildings, infrastructure and farmland.
“I’m very intrigued to see them in action and how quickly we can get this incredible bit of engineering to slide across the road.”
For the open day event, State Highway 26 at the Criterion Bridge will be closed to all traffic except for emergency services. Residents are asked to come on foot if possible. There will be limited parking at Paeroa College (Te Aroha Road) and the side car park at Work and Income (Rotokohu Road).
A road closure will also be in place overnight 7-8 August from 8pm to 4am for the purpose of testing and maintenance of the new floodgates. Detours will be in place diverting State Highway 26 traffic via Paeroa Tahuna Road and Awaiti Road.