Railway footbridge upgrade under way

A well-trodden Dannevirke footbridge is set to have more work done to improve its safety. T

he Christian St footbridge, which crosses the railway lines running parallel to Queen St and links Dannevirke High School with High St, the town's main thoroughfare, has long caused concern in the community.

Dannevirke High School principal Dawid de Villiers voiced his worries last year, saying the road's layout and high level of traffic made it a hazard.

"I am worried about our students. That road and that bridge are an accident waiting to happen."

KiwiRail handed the footbridge to the Tararua District Council in order to get it up to scratch for Term 1.

This week, the council's manager of strategy and district development, Peter Wimsett, said improvements had been made but more work was being done to ensure the public's safety.

Improvements to date included adding a higher handrail to allow a platform to be built for pedestrians at road level, fixing a "rotten structural member", and moving road markings for the right-turn bay to allow room for a footpath to be built.

Last week, work on upgrading the bridge's entrance to Queen St started but proposed gating, to control pedestrian flow, was yet to be confirmed.

Mayor Roly Ellis said work was done because of the risk it posed to the public.

"It's a bridge that's used heavily, especially during school time, and the last thing we want is children crossing the railway lines when it's dangerous."

KiwiRail covered the costs of fixing the footbridge, but both the council and KiwiRail were tight-lipped about a figure.

A spokeswoman said KiwiRail was happy to have worked with the council to find a solution that met everyone's needs.

Manawatu Standard