Gladstone Road bridge in Gisborne is one of New Zealand's oldest reinforced-concrete bridges.

And until now there was little for motorists to admire - just an ageing concrete wall.

But a recent widening of the bridge to include a pathway for cyclists and pedestrians, required one of the solid concrete walls to be removed.

The resulting view of the river was a revelation to motorists, who inundated Gisborne District Council with requests to retain the view.

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The pathway extension was funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency so the council held a special meeting where it agreed to put in an additional $200,000 for a special see-through railing.

The structure was protected by Heritage New Zealand. Built in 1925, it was a significant example of a reinforced concrete bridge, so approval for the change was being sought.

Gisborne mayor Meng Foon said the inland side of the bridge would also be removed when the time was right.

This would also allow motorists uninterrupted views of the Turanganui River, which happened to be officially the shortest river in the Southern Hemisphere.

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