Sutton bridge build on track to open mid-year

Progressing nicely . . . Inspecting the rebuilding of a replacement bridge near Sutton last week are Dunedin City Council transport group manager Richard Saunders (left) and Strath Taieri Community Board chairman Barry Williams. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

The height of a replacement bridge near Sutton is hard to comprehend, Strath Taieri Community Board chairman Barry Williams says.

A new vehicle bridge would span the Taieri River on Sutton-Mount Ross Rd, replacing the old 19th-century single-lane cable suspension bridge which had stood there since 1875.

The old bridge collapsed during a flood in July 2017.

Dunedin City Council transport group manager Richard Saunders showed board members the progress of the project at a site visit last week.

Mr Williams, of Middlemarch, said it was his first time he had visited the site since construction had begun.

He was “pleasantly surprised” by the progress of the project.

“I didn’t realise the scale of it . . . it’s hard to fathom the bridge being nearly 3m higher.”

Mr Saunders said its contractor Concrete Structures were doing a great job and had a great run of weather to work in.

The project was on track to be finished by the middle of the year.

“We are really pleased.”

The columns of the bridge had been poured on the site and its beams were being precast in Christchurch and would arrive by truck later this month for installation.

The deck of the new bridge would sit 2.7m higher than the deck of the historic bridge so the road on either side of it was being raised to meet its new level.

“There’s quite a bit of earthworks going on.”

The project was estimated to cost up to $4.5million and was on budget, he said.

The old bridge’s historic stone columns had been salvaged.

When the new bridge was complete, a project with the council, board and Heritage New Zealand would be launched to decide how reuse the stone.

“To acknowledge the history of the bridge”.

The Taieri Historical Museum had requested material from the old bridge for reuse.

“Which we are happy to provide.”

Mr Saunders praised the neighbouring landowners for allowing contractors’ access.

“They’ve been excellent to work with.”