Work to begin on new Sutton-Mt Ross Rd bridge

The proposed new Sutton-Mount Ross Rd bridge. Photo: Supplied
The proposed new Sutton-Mount Ross Rd bridge. Photo: Supplied
The long wait for a new bridge is almost over for Sutton farmers left facing detours after a damaging flood in 2017.

Contractors are due to begin work next week on a new vehicle bridge spanning the Taieri River on Sutton-Mount Ross Rd, about 18 months after the original structure was destroyed.

The old 19th-century single-lane cable suspension bridge had stood since 1875, but collapsed during a flood in July 2017.

The new bridge was expected to cost between $4million and $4.5million and be completed by the middle of the year, Dunedin City Council transport group manager Richard Saunders said yesterday.

Residents had negotiated lengthy detours following the collapse of the old bridge.

''We recognise that there's been a significant disruption to those who use the bridge regularly, and certainly the community board have been very strong advocates to get the replacement up and finished,'' Mr Saunders said.

''Now we've got a contractor in place, our aim is to work through as quickly as we can and get that reopened for everybody.''

The council settled on a plan to build a modern replacement bridge last year, and later unveiled three design options - incorporating the old bridge's remaining abutments and pillars in different ways - in August.

But, following pleas from the Strath Taieri Community Board, the council decided to focus on building the new bridge first, before deciding on what should be done with the old bridge's historic stone columns.

Mr Saunders said yesterday any decision on how best to recognise the heritage value of the previous bridge was ''a piece of work that still needs to be done''.

''I'm comfortable that we've ended up taking the best balanced view that we can, in order to get the connection re-established.''

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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