Two sections of the historic 132-year-old Kurow twin bridges
will be preserved for public display once the bridges are
replaced with modern structures later this year.
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will start work to
replace the rickety wooden structures with two concrete
two-lane bridges in March, but NZTA Southern regional
director Jim Harland said as a result of talks with the New
Zealand Historic Places Trust and the Waimate and Waitaki
District Councils, it had been agreed two 12m sections would
be preserved on Kurow Island.
Mr Harland said when the bridges were opened in 1881, they
measured 762m long, making them one of the largest wooden
structures of the time.
Bridge No1 (to the north) was still the longest wooden Howe
truss bridge in the South Island, he said.
''The two spans will form part of a wider public leisure and
education area on the island being developed by the local
community. This is a great outcome as it allows us to
preserve a slice of our history.''
He said an agreement had been reached with the Waitaki
District Council to dispose of the remaining trusses, and
other uses were being considered.
Construction of the new $18.5 million bridges is expected to
be completed towards the end of next year and will be
followed by a six-month effort to demolish the defunct wooden
bridges. Kurow Town Enhancement Group member Gaynor Lines
said the decision would preserve part of the township's
heritage and would add to the restoration work already under
way on Kurow Island.
Mrs Lines said after 95 years of being used as a dumping
ground, the island was now much improved.
''We have done considerable work on the island over the last
few years. We have done a lot of planting; it's looking
brilliant at the moment.''