Ini­tial re­port ad­vises bridge re­build

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - What’s On - SAM KILMISTER

The Man­gaweka Bridge, which has pro­vided the con­nec­tion be­tween the Ran­gi­tikei and Manawatu dis­tricts for 113 years, is set for an es­ti­mated $8 mil­lion re­build, ac­cord­ing to a re­port.

But the orig­i­nal bridge won’t be de­mol­ished, in­stead re­tained and used as a pedes­trian and cy­cle bridge.

At its As­sets and In­fras­truc­ture Com­mit­tee meet­ing on July 13, the Ran­gi­tikei Dis­trict Coun­cil stated an in­dica­tive busi­ness case had been com­pleted.

That re­port rec­om­mended a full re­build as the pre­ferred op­tion, about 40 me­tres down­stream.

It also pro­posed keep­ing the orig­i­nal bridge, which would in­clude reg­u­lar main­te­nance costs to carry out mi­nor re­pairs. This is es­ti­mated to come at a cost of $500,000 to $900,000.

Other op­tions looked at in­volved de­mol­ish­ing and decom­mis­sion­ing it.

The project will now ad­vance to the next stage - a de­tailed busi­ness case and de­sign - which would in­clude hy­dro­log­i­cal and geotech­ni­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The bridge spans across the up­per Ran­gi­tikei River one kilo­me­tre east off State High­way 1 near Man­gaweka.

It was orig­i­nally built in 1904 as a class two bridge with a weight ca­pac­ity of 30,000 kilo­grams, but ex­ceeded its de­sign life after 100 years.

The bridge has sig­nif­i­cant her­itage value and is the only re­main­ing road bridge of its kind in the coun­try.

Plans to build a 53 to 80-tonne ca­pac­ity bridge, with a 100-year ex­pected life­span, will cost the Manawatu and Ran­gi­tikei Dis­trict Coun­cils $8m to $10m.

The bridge was closed from Oc­to­ber 5 to 20, 2016, to re­place 7 me­tres of tim­ber deck at both ends of the bridge on Ruahine Rd after con­cerns it was un­safe.

After many years of ser­vice car­ry­ing ev­ery­thing from tourists to agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery the deck­ing tim­ber at each end is fa­tigued.

At the time en­gi­neer Jim Mestyanek said the bridge re­quired ei­ther main­te­nance, com­po­nent re­newals or a full scale re­place­ment.

The orig­i­nal bridge has sig­nif­i­cant her­itage value and is the only re­main­ing road bridge of its kind in the coun­try, how­ever, its weight re­stric­tion to­wards the end of its life was 6000kg due to the weak­ened deck tim­bers.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The Man­gaweka Bridge on Ruahine Road will get an es­ti­mated $8 mil­lion re­build.

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