Northland news in brief: New coastguard boat; and crash on prison grounds

New coastguard boat

The crew of Coastguard Houhora will welcome and give thanks for their special, high-tech new rescue vessel on Saturday. Named Houhora Rescue, the new boat is one of 26 high-spec craft that were first used as chase boats at last year’s America’s Cup. Coastguard Houhora president and master Robin Gemmell said to have the 10m AC36 Rayglass Protector at Houhora was a benefit to the whole community. Across 2021/22, Coastguard Houhora volunteers contributed 851 total hours – responding to 16 incidents and assisting 60 people home safely.

Crash at Ngāwhā Prison

Emergency services scrambled to Ngāwhā Prison on Sunday evening after a crash on the jail’s grounds. Kaikohe fire chief Bill Hutchinson said a vehicle left the prison access road and ended up upside-down in a ditch about 6pm. Speed did not appear to be involved but it wasn’t clear if the crash had been caused by a medical event or the driver losing control and veering off the road. There were no serious injuries and the car did not hit any prison buildings. The Kaikohe brigade was also called to a two-car crash on Mangakahia Rd, near the intersection with Purdy St, about 2pm on Saturday. No one was hurt but firefighters had to wash debris off the road.

Bridge repairs

Work to strengthen the Waitangi River Bridge on State Highway 10 is expected to be finished by Christmas. The bridge, north of Puketona, was closed to overweight trucks earlier this year when a routine inspection found the concrete was cracking. Waka Kotahi said its priority “was ensuring that SH10 was working efficiently to accommodate the additional traffic with SH1 closed”.

New bridge opens

The new $10 million bridge on Port Rd in Whangārei will be officially opened today. The 16-month construction project undertaken by local firms United Civil Construction and WSP Consultants includes the building of a new bridge across the Hā Hā/Limeburners Creek, providing two lanes for traffic heading out of Whangārei and a 3m-wide walking and cycling path. The old bridge will carry two lanes of traffic back into town – providing four lanes overall. Construction of the nearby Port Rd / Kioreroa Rd roundabout and the extension of the shared path has been funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and is programmed to be completed in late 2023.

Person dies in crash

A person died after a crash in Dargaville on Monday. A single-vehicle crash on Notorious West Rd was reported around 8.23am, police said. The person was found deceased in the vehicle when emergency services arrived. The scene was cleared and no roadblocks were put in place. Police said the death had been referred to the Coroner.

Footpath work to start

Whangārei District Council will start construction of a new footpath on Riverside Dr today. The footpath will connect to Tanekaha Drive and the roundabout, to create a continuous footpath from Victoria Bridge, to the Riverside Dr shared path and leading on to Onerahi. The project also includes a new kerb and channel at the edge of the road. The project is expected to take around two weeks, and the council encourages motorists to drive carefully past the work site.

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