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Bridge jumping dangerous – no longer a rite of passage – Gisborne District Council

Warning signs are being placed on the city’s three bridges to tell people not to jump from them in case they get hurt.

The signs will be on the Railway Bridge, the William Pettie Bridge (Rutene Road) and the Gladstone Road Bridge.

Council Harbourmaster Peter Buell says jumping from the city’s bridges is not safe.

“There are hidden hazards under the water. Every time there’s heavy rain, wood comes down the rivers and catches against these bridges.

“The wood is cleared in the days after these events however some logs remain stuck in the mud or continue to come down in the weeks after an event.

“We know bridge jumping has been a fun activity in the past, but it can’t be seen as a rite of passage any longer.

“Things have changed. Since 2018, there’s been a marked increase in heavy rain events and the mobilisation of tonnes of woody debris, silt, and other random debris from riverbanks, into our waterways.

“We cannot guarantee daily that the water underneath these bridges is free from debris. In fact we know that is not the case.”

Mr Buell says a specialist dive team will be here early next year to work on removing debris stuck in the mud below the three bridges.

“That won’t mean it’s then okay to jump off the bridges again. The risk remains as woody debris continues to come down the rivers.

“We cannot reinforce enough that this is not a safe activity, we’re coming down hard because we don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

Māori Wardens monitor the area and educate anyone about the dangers through the City Watch, and they’re also present at the boat ramp in the Inner Harbour promoting safe boating.

 

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