The Broadwood swingbridge is set to be ''deconstructed'' for safety reasons. Photo / supplied
by Peter de Graaf
A swingbridge at Broadwood is set to be ''deconstructed'' despite calls to repair the local landmark.
The pedestrian swingbridge was built in the North Hokianga town in 1993 but has been boarded up for safety reasons since the deck warped several years ago.
Locals are keen to see the bridge repaired but the estimated cost is almost triple the sum set aside in the Far North District Council's budget.
The bridge was built at the site of Broadwood's original road crossing by Steve Crouch, who now lives in Ahipara. It was apparently built to an approved design but with mostly volunteer labour.
It received some community board funding but Crouch covered much of the cost and sourced many of the materials himself.
What happened next is disputed. Locals believe alterations made in 1998 and again about three years ago by council contractors made the bridge unstable.
The council did not respond to Advocate inquiries about the bridge.
Whatever the cause, the bridge deck is badly warped and unstable. The entrances have been boarded up to stop people trying to walk across.
With concerns mounting, a community meeting was called at the Broadwood A&P Hall on September 15 and attended by council representatives.
Broadwood resident June Hick said council staff were adamant the bridge would be removed for health and safety reasons, but gave an undertaking it would be ''deconstructed'' rather than demolished — possibly so it could be rebuilt in future if funding became available.
The council agreed to a meeting between residents and its asset manager to discuss options.
The council is understood to have set aside $100,000 in its long-term plan for a new bridge but the actual cost is expected to be about $290,000.
Hick said residents had also met with representatives of the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board, which suggested residents carry out a feasibility study to bolster their case for a reinstated bridge.
The bridge issue had led to a great deal of frustration in the town, she said.
The bridge used to provide a useful link between the centre of Broadwood, near the general store, and properties on Takahue Saddle Rd on the other side of the Mangonuiowae River.
Pedestrians now have to walk east along Broadwood Rd across the road bridge to the start of Takahue Saddle Rd.