Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Christchurch's Bridge of Remembrance reopens for Anzac Day

Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer

Christchurch's earthquake-damaged Bridge of Remembrance has been reopened to the public today at a special Anzac Day ceremony.

Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake, for a re-dedication ceremony led by Christchurch Returned and Services Association (RSA).

Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer

A huge round of applause echoed around the bridge as the RSA's Pete Dawson thanked everyone for giving them back the historic landmark.

The Last Post was then played in remembrance of those who were lost during the two world wars.

For Christchurch City Council and the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) the ceremony has spelled the end of a challenging three-year project that has returned the Bridge and Triumphal Arch to their former glory and ensured their survival for generations to come.

Scirt Downer Project Manager Alex Mowe said the repair and restoration of the Bridge and Arch had been one of the most technically-challenging and rewarding projects Scirt had been involved in.

Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer

Because of the historic significance of the two structures, they had needed heritage approval for every aspect of the repair and restoration work. The two structures though were now stronger than ever, he said.

Steel columns had been inserted inside the masonry columns of the arch to strengthen it and a "rocking collar'' added to its base to protect it from further earthquakes.

Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer

"The arch is a lot stronger than it was before the earthquakes - it has been strengthened to withstand a 1 in 2500 year earthquake,'' Mr Mowe said.

Council project sponsor John Mackie said he was thrilled with the results of the work done and pleased to be able to hand the Bridge back to the community in time for this year's Anzac Day commemorations.

Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Around 1000 people, both uniformed and civilians, gathered at the historic bridge, which has been closed since the deadly February 2011 quake. Photo / Kurt Bayer

"This is a big milestone for the city because the Bridge of Remembrance and Triumphal Arch are important, historic landmarks that are treasured by many,'' Mr Mackie said.

- NZ Herald

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