Work starts on $3.1m central city pedestrian bridge

An artist's impression of the Avon River bridge connecting the City Promenade to Cambridge Tce....
An artist's impression of the Avon River bridge connecting the City Promenade to Cambridge Tce. Photo: Otakaro Ltd
Construction of a controversial multi-million dollar, 32m pedestrian bridge in central Christchurch is now under way.

Fulton Hogan has been awarded a $3.1 million contract to build the North Frame pedestrian bridge that will connect the City Promenade to Cambridge Tce.

In 2017, Crown rebuild company Ōtākaro Ltd spent more than $90,000 on a design competition for the new pedestrian bridge before the contest was scrapped after Christchurch city councillors raised maintenance cost concerns.

Two of the 13 designs submitted for the new bridge over the Avon River were presented by Ōtākaro in October 2017, but city councillors said at the time they would prefer a "simple, functional, low maintenance bridge".

A total of $600,000 will be spent on its design, engineering and other professional services as part of the project.

Said Ōtākaro Ltd chief executive John Bridgman: “Infrastructure projects are going to be an important part of our economic recovery.

"Fulton Hogan will have around five to eight people working at the site for much of the year and money will also be flowing through to its suppliers.

“The City Promenade is increasingly being used by cyclists and pedestrians for commuting and we want to see more of that.

“The 32-metre-long, 3.5-metre-wide bridge sits on a naturally desirable crossing point along the Promenade so it will make the journey easier for people heading to or from the north of the city or the recently announced Catholic Church Precinct.

“The bridge will be constructed of concrete rather than steel. Steel structures require more maintenance and are susceptible to corrosion."

Ōtākaro, a Seattle Sister Cities representative, Matapopore and Christchurch City Council staff have worked together to incorporate elements that reflect the local ecology and enhance the existing artwork “Taurapa” into the design.

Matapopore chairperson Aroha Reriti-Croft said the bridge balustrades will feature a harakeke design.

“The linking of harakeke blades through weaving is a symbol of strength, which is important for a bridge. The flow and curve of the leaves also reference the linking of arms as a way to cross rivers.

“The flowing river pattern etched on the bridge deck represents the concept of Ki uta ki tai (from the mountains to the sea), which acknowledges the important connections between people and communities, people and the land, and people and water.”

About 1400 native plants and trees will be added to the riverbanks surrounding the bridge to help integrate it into the landscape.

The bridge will not disturb the main vertical element of the Taurapa sculpture, which was commissioned by the Seattle Sister City Committee in 1997. One of the trailing stones will be moved to accommodate the base of the bridge. Informative signage will be added to the area.

Work on the North Frame pedestrian bridge is expected to be completed early next year, depending on the weather and river conditions and the Covid-19 restrictions.

 

 

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