Danseys Pass lavender grower Jo Todd thought a few others
might be interested in how a Bailey bridge is built - so she
took some photos.
Turns out she was right - more than 16,720 people, including
some from as far away as Amsterdam - have viewed the photos
on her Danseys Pass Lavender Facebook page.
In June the north branch of the Maerewhenua River flooded,
taking out the bridge in the valley below where Mrs Todd and
her husband Barry live.
Their 4ha block where they grow lavender and make products
for sale sits about 400m above sea level bounded by Danseys
Pass Rd and the river.
Last month, the Waitaki District Council arranged for a
temporary Bailey bridge to replace the ruined bridge until a
permanent replacement could be built.
Two ''huge'' truckloads of pre-fabricated equipment arrived
early on a Tuesday morning and by 7pm Saturday the trucks had
gone and the bridge was in place, Mrs Todd said.
''The speed, expertise and organisation of the team who came
to build the bridge was impressive.''
The awkward site meant some ingenuity was called for because
usually a Bailey bridge was built and then pushed out
continuously on rollers over a gap, she said.
In this case, with a launching platform built from gravel and
some help from two diggers working in tandem it was
manoeuvred into place, she said.
She was fascinated to learn the history of the bridges, which
were first used in World War 2 and nowadays were rented to
councils as temporary replacements.
Each part of the modular construction was designed to be of a
size and weight that six strong men could lift it, she said.
The panels which make up the bridge were designed to be put
up quickly without machinery and with the thought in mind
there was an army marching not far behind which had an urgent
need to cross.
These days extra machinery was used to move the heavy panels
but the rest was ''hands-on, like Meccano'', she said.
Mrs Todd said Downer employed a cameraman to film the Danseys
Pass bridge construction for training purposes, so the skills
could be passed on.
Although the lack of a bridge had caused some inconvenience
for residents, they had been able to ford the river in
However, there had been some urgency because farmer Neville
Hore was shearing and needed a way to truck the wool out. The
Bailey bridge was ready in time, Mrs Todd said.
About 7000 visitors a year travel the historic mountain pass
which links Central and North Otago, mostly in the summer
months, as the pass can be closed by snow in winter.
The council plans to construct a permanent single-lane bridge
According to Wikipedia, the Bailey bridge is named for Donald
Bailey, a civil servant in the British War Office who
tinkered with model bridges as a hobby.
Danseys Pass Lavender is open from October 1 to April 30.