End of era as bridges removed

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2013
Snell Pl footbridge
JOSEPH JOHNSON
WALKWAY SEVERED: The earthquake-damaged Snell Pl footbridge in Dallington is taken down by Fulton Hogan crews.

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An earthquake-damaged footbridge spanning the Avon River has been dismantled after nearly two years of being off-limits.

Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) project co-ordinator Colin Hey said the Snell Pl bridge in Dallington was badly hit in the February 2011 quake.

"The back of the bridge was broken. It was effectively squashed between the two banks as they moved inward," he said.

"It's an arched bridge and the centre of it was pushed up in the air."

The 46-year-old bridge was cut through at the centre split, Hey said, and cranes removed the two parts.

It is the second Avon footbridge in eastern Christchurch to go since the quakes, after the Porritt Park bridge was taken apart in November, and will soon be joined by a third.

The warped and twisted Medway St footbridge - a symbol of the earthquakes' destruction since September 2010 - will be removed on February 12, after a community farewell.

Burwood-Pegasus community board chairwoman Linda Stewart said the Richmond bridge was a "community connection" and its loss was sorely felt.

"We're all very precious about that bridge and all the footbridges. If I have my way, we'll have more footbridges, not less."

She will meet the Dallington Residents' Association next week to plan the event, which might include a barbecue and a reading.

Council infrastructure team leader Will Doughty said the bridges would be replaced, but community consultation was needed to decide whether any location changes were appropriate.

Scirt is also managing the repairs of the historic Antigua St footbridge beside Christchurch Hospital.

The repair plan was still being devised, a spokeswoman said, and work would not start until March or April.

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