Diamond Jubilee of the Ohinemuri County 1885 - 1945

Roads, Bridges and Utilities

Some Costly Items - - Others Not So

To record in these columns all the works that have been done in the County during the last sixty years would be impossible, but we give a few items taken more or less at random from old records, with the name of the contractor or contractors where possible: —

1886. — First payments for road works to Karangahake made; about £230 was spent, including such items as fascining. Mill Road, Paeroa, had about £57 spent on it; Junction Road, Paeroa, £55 (F. M. Ritchie and Owen McCabe); Rangiora Road, Komata, £80 (Owen McCabe); Waitekauri Prospecting Track, £260; Waihi Swamp, £30; Lower Waitoa Road, £129 (W. Collett); Karangahake Hill Track, £111; Thames-Tauranga Road, over £800; powder magazine, £48; Puke Road, £30; Owharoa low-level tunnel, £300; deviation of Thames-Tauranga Road, £875; total expenditure in Karangahake Riding, £650.

1887. — Paeroa-Te Aroha Road, £200; Paeroa-Hikutaia Road, £238; Paeroa-Tauranga Road, £200; cutting boundary between Thames and Ohinemuri Counties, £47; Paeroa-Owharoa Road, £316; Tui Creek track, £280; Waitoa Lower Road, £184.

1888. — It seems almost certain from records that the first Council Chambers, as they appear by the photo in this booklet were built by Mr. A. J. Moore, the contract price being £153. This building still exists in Paeroa and is used as a dwelling in Junction Street behind the present Paeroa Library.

1889. — Ohinemuri Gorge Road, £1170.

1891-1896. --- Waitekauri lower road, £3500.

1894-1900 - Puke Road was an expensive strip to maintain, costing about £600 a year.

1896. — Junction Road, Paeroa, £420; Waitekauri streets (at height of boom), £500.

1896-1897. — Deviation at Earl's Hill, Waikino, £2250.

1896-1899. — Paeroa water supply, £4711.

1896-1900. — Komata Creek Road, nearly £3000.

1897. — Junction Wharf, Paeroa, with approaches, £801 (D. and M. Forsyth); Karangahake Bridge, £1350 (Graham and Moore); Karangahake foot bridge, £197 (Coulson and Hewson); Waitekauri River Bridge, £828 (W. F. Brown); Owharoa Bridge, £1077; Street formation at Waihi, £396 (Roxborough and McGinsey).

1898. — Hikutaia-Waitekauri track, £80.

1901-1906, -- Mackaytown water supply, £1000.

1901. — Bridge over Thorps Creek, Puke Road, £170 (P. Sheehan); forming portion of Thorp and Fraser Streets, Paeroa, £27 (Jas. Douglas).

1902 — Tarariki Creek, Paeroa, to Waitekauri Track, £67 (G. Muir); Komata Reefs to Waitekauri Track, £100 (G. Muir); forming and spalling Corbett Street, Paeroa, £61 (E. Adolph); erection of magazine, Paeroa, £679 (F. Douglas and Sam Craig); formation of Hikutaia-Maratoto Road, £4 per chain.

1904-1907. — Iron bridge over Ohinemuri River near Criterion Hotel, Paeroa, replacing original wooden bridge and since replaced by present concrete bridge erected by Public Works Department, £2551.

1906. — Bridge at Mackaytown, £109 (re-erection in 1907, £273); Jubilee Road, £420.

1908. — Waikino waterworks. £4842 (J. W. Forest); bridge at Waitawheta Crossing, £1274 (W. C. Kennedy); band rotunda, Karangahake, £138 (W. H. Taylor); forming and clearing from Wood Street, Paeroa, to rifle range, £24 (P. Sheehan); forming portion of Mangaiti-Tirohia Road, £220 (G. W. Smallman); kerbing, channelling and asphalting footpaths in Paeroa, £578 (White and Law).

1909. — Metalling and reforming Kaimanawa to Hikutaia Road, £248 (W. Emett).

1910. — Footbridge to Mackaytown Station, £687 (Tony Lupis); bridge over Komata Stream, £240 (W. J. Mowatt); protection works on Ohinemuri River, £427 (Gojack and Lupis); two bridges on Hikutaia Settlement Road, £176 (P. Sheehan); painting abattoirs and cottage, £50 (H. D, McIvor); bridge over Waitoki Stream, £218 (M. Gojack); painting iron bridge over Ohinemuri River at Paeroa, £74 (H. D. McIvor).

1911-1912. — New Council Chambers at Paeroa at present in use by Council, £1497 (R. Roberts).

1912. — Puke Bridge over Waihou River, £3859 (Kennedy and Taylor); extension of Paeroa water supply, £796 (Kennedy and Taylor); metalling Mangaiti-Te Aroha deviation, £604 (Smallman and McCormick); traffic bridge over Ohinemuri River at Karangahake, £2497 (Kennedy and Taylor); Butlers Track, Karangahake, was another big item of expenditure, costing as much as £356 in one year.

Early Roadmaking

Although thousands of pounds ingold duty were received by the Council in those days, together with liberal grants by the Government, the money was spent just as freely as it was received. It was a matter of expediency, for coal and mining material had to be taken to Waitekauri, Karangahake, Waihi and Waikino, and the only way to keep the roads open was to tip metal on themin large quantities. By night time the loads would be spread by the traffic. There was no time to build foundations, and the metal would disappear beneath the fascines soon after it was delivered. For instance, there are 8ft. of metal below the surface of Belmont Road, Paeroa, just in front of the County Council Chambers.

Roads and Bridges in County

To-day the County has 32½ miles of state highway, of which 28¾ miles are sealed; 18¼ miles of main highways, including ¾ mile sealed; 108 miles of side roads metalled, ¾ mile of which is sealed; 15 miles of formed unmetalled roads; 50 miles of bridle tracks and 8 miles of unformed roads.

Bridges in the County with a span of 25ft and over include two concrete of a total length of 66ft; one steel and concrete 105ft; nine steel, concrete and timber totalling 629ft; six Australian hardwood, totalling 1960ft, and 19 native timbers of a total length of 1131ft.

Due to the hilly nature of the County and the number of streams, bridges are a major problem for the Council, for in addition to the above there are over 100 wooden bridges, mostly old, under 25ft. span. It has been the policy of the Council for a number of years to replace as many as possible of these each year with concrete culverts.