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Dunedin City Council projects engineer Evan Matheson said $346,000 was spent upgrading 465m of rail along the Esplanade.
Mr Matheson said the project was expected to be completed by the end of the month.
Zealsteel carried out the work in two stages and the refurbished handrail should last about 10 to 15 years with regular maintenance, he said.
"The original one was galvanised steel and it did not last as well as we expected, so we are taking them down and cleaning them back to bare metal and recoating with a three-coat paint system, and replacing the wooden handrail where it is needed."
As the council had not made a final decision on the future of the stairs and ramp leading to the beach, handrails on those sections were not being replaced, except in one area deemed unsafe.