Kurow bridges timber wanted for wharf restoration

Hardwood timber from the twin bridges on State Highway 82 at Kurow is wanted for work in the Oamaru Harbour, once new bridges are built and the 131-year-old structures demolished.

The Waitaki District Council has asked the New Zealand Transport Agency if it could have timber from the old bridges which it could use around the harbour, particularly for Sumpter Wharf. The long-term future of the wharf is in doubt after an engineering report said it could start to collapse in a year because of damage to its piles.

The council, in its 2012-22 long-term community plan will be asking the community what it wants to happen, one option being spending up to $1.5 million to make it safe so it can be reopened to the public.

Funding has been made available to start work next year on new two-lane bridges across the Waitaki River between Kurow and Hakataramea. The new bridges are expected to be completed in the 2014-15 financial year, when the old ones would be demolished.

The agency has already had expressions of interest in the timber from the old bridges, including from Kurow community groups who want to use it for projects. That includes developing the Kurow island between the bridges for recreation and public use. It was expected the first call for any sound timber would be for the local authority for bridging or structural work probably in conjunction with Historic Places Trust.



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