Work on 88-year-old bridge

By Staff reporter

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Work to repair the 88-year-old Matapihi Rail Bridge is due to start next week.

Work on the pedestrian and cycle pathway on the bridge will begin on Tuesday, October 23.

While the repair work is underway, the bridge pathway will be closed.

The repair work, which is due to be competed by the end of January 2013, involves replacing the timber decking, beams and struts as well as the steel supports.

The ramps at each end of the bridge will also be upgraded and the handrails will be replaced with slightly higher ones to meet current safety standards.

Once the work is finished the pathway will be safer and slightly wider.

Most of the work will be done using a special platform that will hang under the bridge.

Tauranga City Council said the bridge was an important access route for pedestrians and cyclists between Matapihi and the city centre with up to 200 people using the pathway on the bridge every day.

Matapihi residents are the biggest users of the bridge pathway and while the bridge is closed Tauranga City Council will provide a free mini bus service for Matapihi residents between Matapihi and Bayfair.

The Matapihi Rail Bridge is 88 years old. The pathway along the side of the bridge was added at the end of the 1950's to provide a safe way for people to walk over the bridge.

This was as a result of numerous deaths and injuries to people walking over the rail bridge on the train tracks.

A Tauranga City Council spokesperson said a visual inspection was done in January 2012.

This was followed by a structural investigation in March 2012, which indicated there was significant rotting and rusting to the wooden beams and steel supports under the pathway that needed to be repaired.

Fulton Hogan will be doing the work on behalf of Tauranga City Council.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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