Walkway across river mooted in bridge pier upgrade

An archival photograph of the historic Alexandra bridge in 1903.
An archival photograph of the historic Alexandra bridge in 1903.
An upgrade of Alexandra's historic bridge piers could include decking between the piers, providing a walkway cross the Clutha River.

The idea was mooted at a public meeting in Alexandra on Thursday night, held to generate support for future projects on the stone structures, which have a category 1 listing with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

About 10 people attended the meeting, all of whom were enthusiastic about the formation of a new bridge walkway.

John Breen, of Breen Construction Ltd, said it was time to do a proper job upgrading the piers in a practical way which "will have all sorts of benefits".

A walkway would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.

Engineer Steve Tilleyshort told the meeting four purpose-built lights could also be clamped to the new bridge to illuminate the piers at night.

The lighting would cost between $14,000 and $15,000.

Vincent Community Board chairwoman Clair Higginson told the meeting reports on the piers had revealed they were in "remarkably" good shape, although they would not stay that way forever.

It was suggested capping on the piers was the structures' weakest point, and would be a priority for strengthening to prevent water penetration.

To apply for funding to upgrade the piers, the group needed to either become a legal entity or organise for an existing entity to apply for money on its behalf.

Steve Battrick, of the Cultural Centre Trust, said he would ask trust members if the trust could include upgrading of the bridge piers within its charter in order to apply for funding.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust Central Otago branch committee chairwoman Sharon Hinds said the trust would provide advice and support for any upgrade or preservation of the piers, as they were considered one of the most beautiful bridge structures built in New Zealand.


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