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Southland District Council [SDC] was recently alerted to the theft of signage and cones from the Channel Road bridge at Tussock Creek, which was closed temporarily due to damage from flooding in the region earlier this month.
An SDC spokesman said staff were ‘‘disappointed’’, especially considering the markers were placed there for the public’s safety until an analysis of the damage to the riverbed could be completed.
‘‘Early indications are that the extent of riverbed scour is leaving the bridge inadequately supported and with the river on the rise again there is a significantly increased risk to bridge users.’’
The temporary bridge and road closure had nothing to do with historical bridge capacity reductions or closures, and was entirely due to the recent severe weather event, the spokesman said.
‘‘Removal of the signage and cones poses a huge danger to motorists, who could continue to try to use the bridge unaware of the risk they are putting themselves in.’’
As a result, concrete blocks were placed at the entrances to the bridge yesterday to prevent vehicles from crossing.
An update would be provided when the river level subsided enough for an assessment to be carried out and repairs to be organised.
Police had been notified.