A closed-off central Christchurch bridge is unlikely to re-open until to mid to late 2015.
The Gloucester St bridge has been closed to vehicles since June 26 when engineers found that bolts pinning the structure together had sheared and were at risk of failing.
Further investigation of the historic bridge revealed seismic activity and heavy trucks carrying demolition waste out of the central city had significantly weakened the bridge.
For the past few months the council and the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) have been examining short and long-term options for repairing the bridge.
Council road assets operations manager Malcolm Park said Scirt had now completed a concept design brief for the bridge, which meant the repair components had been identified and key design considerations noted.
The next step was to prepare a detailed design report, which would outline the preferred option for repairing the bridge.
''Construction is expected to be completed mid to late 2015,'' Park said.
The Gloucester St bridge is still open to cyclists and pedestrians.
CLOSURE 'WORST THING' TO HAPPEN
New Regent St business owners had mixed reactions about the prolonged closure.
Tom Hart opened his personal training studio, VIP Fitness, three months ago.
He did not think the bridge remaining closed would affect him much because he did not rely on pedestrian traffic, but he he found it hard to keep track of road closures.
Christchurch roads were "like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get".
If the council worked to keep business owners updated they would be able to pass that on to clients and customers, he said,
Mrs Higgins co-owner Penny Smart said the prolonged bridge closure was especially problematic for people coming from the west side of the city.
She felt business had improved since the tram started, with more tourists coming through the street, but once the main tourist season finished the road closures would prevent locals from venturing into town.
Smart said the shop had been open only a few weeks when the bridge closed in June.
"If you'd known the bridge was going to be out, I'm not saying it would have stopped us, but it may have affected our decision."
MC Beauty and Nails owner Michelle Crouch will be closing the doors to her New Regent St business on December 24.
She called the Gloucester St bridge closure "the worst thing that happened".
She had moved her business from Fendalton, but had many customers from that part of town who had difficulty getting to her city premises.
Crouch said she would shed a few tears on her final day in the city.
She had made three employees redundant and would reopen as a sole trader in Rotherham St, Riccarton, in early January.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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