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The Dunedin City Council has unveiled three design options for a new bridge across the Taieri River at Sutton, as the estimated cost climbs beyond $2 million.
The new structure would replace the 19th-century suspension bridge over the river, which collapsed during last July’s floods.
All three options would feature a 4.7m-wide, single-lane concrete bridge with a 65-tonne weight limit, designed to accommodate agricultural machinery and with space for a 1.5m foot and cycle path.
The first option is for the new bridge to be built where the former bridge was, with old abutments left in place.
The second option would reinstate the destroyed bridge’s historic pillars on either side of the new bridge, but further apart than with the original bridge.
The third option would shift the new bridge downstream, while restoring the pillars in their original location.
The unveiling of the options yesterday came after councillors in June voted for a modern bridge to replace the old bridge, following pleas by Middlemarch farmers for speedy action.
The option of building a "new heritage bridge" would have taken longer, cost up to $2 million and restricted future use of the bridge by agricultural machinery, councillors were told.
Yesterday, council transport group manager Richard Saunders said the cost of all three new bridge options was now expected to be between $2 million and $2.5 million.
That included the bridge structure, design fees, consent costs and reconstruction of any heritage elements, although the NZ Transport Agency would cover 75% of the cost.
Option three would be the most expensive as it was "likely" land would also have to be purchased, he said.
Whichever option was selected, the new bridge would be higher than the original to provide better flood protection, and designed to withstand floodwaters and minimise debris build-up, Mr Saunders said.
Any historic materials not used in the construction of the new bridge could be used elsewhere in Middlemarch, he said.
Construction was expected to begin next year and be completed by the middle of the year.
• The council was inviting public feedback on the options, and would hold a public drop-in session in Middlemarch on August 20, from 7pm-9pm at the Strath Taieri Community Centre, to discuss the plans.