Sutton Bridge reports held

The Sutton bridge. Photo: ODT
The Sutton bridge. Photo: ODT
The Dunedin City Council is delaying the release of two reports into the destruction of the historic Sutton suspension bridge as it seeks legal advice on their findings.

The 19th-century bridge, over the Taieri River on Sutton-Mount Ross Rd, was destroyed when floodwaters swept through the area in July’s floods.

It had only recently reopened to heavy trucks when the floods occurred and was being  strengthened. Council group transport manager Richard Saunders said two reports on the bridge had been received by the council. 

Reasons  why it was  so badly damaged were identified  in the reports, including the severity of the flooding, he  said. As the council has sought legal advice on the matter and commercial negotiations were under way, it would not be making the reports publicly available at this time, he said.

In September, work started on salvaging the bridge and options for its rebuild were being developed.

Four stone columns that helped hold up  the bridge had been removed, the pieces numbered and stored, and steel cables had also been salvaged.

A decision on the rebuild would be made early next year.

The council would not be making any further comments on the situation at this stage, Mr Saunders said.

Strath Taieri Community Board chairman Barry Williams said he had received the reports but had not read them and was more concerned about when the bridge would be rebuilt than their findings.

"I’m less concerned about the reports than I am about when we will have a bridge there again."

He was happy with the council’s timeline for making a decision on the rebuild but would be unhappy if nothing was achieved by early next year.

"Obviously it gets a bit tough to get things done at this time of year but we’ve been told by the end of January we should have a decision and we will be pretty disappointed if they don’t stick to that."

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