Parts of the old Kurow twin bridges will eventually become part of a public reserve.
The New Zealand Transport Agency's (NZTA) $18 million project to replace the 132-year-old bridges begins next month, and regional director Jim Harland said two 12-metre sections would be preserved for public display.
The two spans would form part of a wider public recreation and educational area being developed on an island in the Waitaki River by the Kurow Town Enhancement Group, with the support of the Waitaki District Council.
"This is a great outcome as it allows us to preserve a slice of our history," Mr Harland said.
Group member Sandy Cameron said the community appreciated the NZTA's decision.
"It will be nice to display them in a way that provides a snapshot in time," she said.
The 10-hectare leisure area is on the site of a former landfill located between the historic bridges.
The restoration work had received support from organisations such as Meridian, Environment Canterbury, the Department of Conservation and the Waitaki District Council.
NZTA said organisations such as the Hocken Library, Historic Places Trust and Kurow Museum also wanted to be involved in the latest project.
Kurow Museum society member Bob Waterson said the project would take about two years to complete, as there were several different options for the district council and NZTA to consider.
"I can't stress enough the importance of the bridges from a heritage point of view.
"They were one of the longest wooden structures built, and the fact they lasted so long was a credit to their engineering," Mr Waterson said.
The bridges' replacement is expected to be completed towards the end of next year and would be followed by the six-month demolition of the existing bridges.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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