Man­gled foot­bridge to quake memo­rial

The Press - - News - Jonathan Guild­ford

Christchurch river­side res­i­dents will once again be able to visit the sym­bolic Med­way St foot­bridge when it re­turns as an earth­quake memo­rial.

The Rich­mond bridge be­came a sym­bol of the de­struc­tive power of the city’s earth­quakes af­ter it was dis­torted be­yond re­pair by the Septem­ber 2010 earth­quake.

A sec­tion of the man­gled bridge will be placed along­side Te Ara O¯ ta¯karo, the tran­si­tional Avon River Trail, just north of the bridge’s orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion, on the Avon­side side of the river.

Signs will be put up out­lin­ing the his­tory and sig­nif­i­cance of the bridge, which will be vis­i­ble from the River Rd plat­form that was in­stalled as part

Creek di­ver­sion.

Be­fore the earth­quakes the Med­way St foot­bridge was fun­da­men­tal in link­ing the sur­round­ing neigh­bour­hoods across the Avon River.

It was later lifted by a

300-tonne crane, cut into three pieces and stored at the Fer­rymead Her­itage Park at the re­quest of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, in

2013.

Bring­ing the bridge back as a com­mem­o­ra­tive struc­ture was iden­ti­fied as a pri­or­ity by the Avon-Otakaro Net­work, Re­gen­er­ate Christchurch and Christchurch City Coun­cil En­liven Places Pro­gramme.

Avon-Otakaro Net­work spokesman Evan Smith said the bridge re­mained a sig­nif­i­cant sym­bol of the im­pact of the of the Dud­ley earth­quakes on the com­mu­ni­ties of the east. ‘‘Three-quar­ters of those sur­veyed from lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in 2012 sought the re­turn of the bridge as a com­mem­o­ra­tive struc­ture.

‘‘The site also has a tragic lo­cal his­tory that needs ac­knowl­edge­ment.’’

Smith said one day he hoped to have the full struc­ture re­assem­bled and dis­played at the lo­ca­tion. ‘‘We also need to re­place the lost foot­bridges to re-es­tab­lish the con­nec­tions across the river be­tween com­mu­ni­ties and amenity,’’ he said.

The Med­way St foot­bridge memo­rial struc­ture is ex­pected to be com­pleted and opened at the end of Oc­to­ber.

The Med­way St foot­bridge af­ter the Septem­ber 2010 earth­quake.

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