Skippers Bridge closes after cracks found
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
The 114-year-old Skippers Canyon Bridge will be closed for three weeks after cracks in a stone support tower were found.
Queenstown Lakes District Council network operations engineer Michael Wardill said yesterday that the cracks had appeared since last year's engineering inspection.
"The cracks have appeared on one of four cable support towers, made of stacked stone - this tower's on the Queenstown side of the bridge," he said.
The bridge would be closed from Monday for about three weeks so urgent repair work - the construction and placement of a steel bandage - could be undertaken.
“We are fairly confident that the works will bring the bridge back up to full working order,” Mr Wardill said.
The council would keep in close contact with the Historic Places Trust throughout the work.
Construction on the bridge began in 1898, and it opened in 1901.
The council had tried to contact affected parties, including Branches Station, Nomad Safaris and Heritage Tours.
Two holiday homes, which are not believed to be used in the winter, and an old school compound under Conservation Department care lie beyond the bridge.
Nomad Safaris owner David Gatward-Ferguson said that tours of Lord Of The Rings sites went beyond the bridge but he was glad the repairs were taking place during mid-winter rather than the very busy summer period.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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