Earthquake-twisted bridge to be put in storage

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013
The earthquake-damaged Medway St, Christchurch, bridge.
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

TWISTED: The earthquake-damaged Medway St, Christchurch, bridge.

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Work to remove the Medway St footbridge in Christchurch is set to begin today.

The Richmond bridge, warped beyond repair in the February 2011 earthquake, became a symbol of the quake's destructive power.

It will be removed today and transported to the Ferrymead Heritage Park, where it will be stored until a permanent home can be found for it as a memorial to the Canterbury quakes.

The Christchurch City Council has instructed the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) to remove the Avon River bridge because it is a "health and safety concern".

An online survey in Richmond, Avonside and Dallington in mid-2012 showed residents had mixed views on the bridge's removal.

Of the 150 who participated, 72 per cent wanted the bridge removed and stored, 19 per cent wanted it scrapped and the remainder wanted it made safe on-site.

Almost all sought a replacement footbridge at some point, with 60 per cent believing this was needed sooner rather than later.

Avon-Otakaro Network co-chairman Evan Smith said he hoped the memorial would be created on the banks of the Avon.

"One day we hope that the bridge will feature as an iconic memorial within the Avon River park and reserve proposed for the Avon River residential red zone," he said.

A farewell to the bridge has been incorporated into the River of Flowers commemoration at the site on February 22, organised by the Avon-Otakaro Network and Healthy Christchurch.

Once the footbridge is removed, there will be no temporary bridge or structure put in its place.

Scirt investigated a replacement, but that was considered too expensive and was not supported by the council.

The decision on a permanent replacement will be made when use of the red-zone land is clear.

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- The Press

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