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Press, Press, Volume V, Issue 595, 26 September 1864
The Market Place Bridge.—This bridge is now so far completed as to enable us to offer some opinion on the character of the structure. A bridge may be regarded both iv its architectural and in its engineering character. As to the first, we would speak not unfavorably, though the design is simple and commonplace in the details. The walls at the approaches, and the abutments are very good specimens of stone building—?arved rubble with cut stone quoins; the face abutments being in ashler work, with hammer-dressed face?. The whole is solid, simple, and massive, leaving little to be complained of. The bridge itself consists of six cast-iron arched girders, witlfspandrils and railing in gothic forms, also cast. The roadway rests upon sheets of wrought iron bolted from girder to girder. The whole is covered with asphalte, forming a level roadway. When we look at the work, however, in an engineering point of view, all admiration must give way to astonishment. This bridge cannot have cost much less than £4000, which is three or four times as much as was at all necessary for the purpose of putting a permanent solid bridge across so small a stream. The construction is in the highest degree faulty and dangerous. Tho arch is struck with so low a versed sine as to bring an enormous lateral pressure on the abutments. The bridge may possibly stand, but the slightest giving or settling in the abutments, -which would have little effect on an arch with sufficient versed sine, will in this bridge be followed by a fracture of the lower flanges, and an opening oi the joints in the girders. No more costly or critical form of construction could have occurred to any engineer, nor one more unsuited to a country where the enormous demand for new works renders economy in each a matter of importance, and where an absence of nicety in construction should dictate to a prudent engineer the avoidance of forms in which safety depends on the extreme accuracy of workmanship. If there be any deficiency whatever in the abutments or foundations of this bridge it will be in the river in a few months. But whether it stands or not it is not satisfactory to think that at least £2000 have been wasted owing to the adoption of a form of construction which has been for the most part abandoned by modern engineers in favor of lighter and less costly designs. Mr. Wylde stated in a letter to the Lyttelton Times two days ago that he claimed the credit for this design, but not for its construction. The responsibility for the latter falls, we suppose, on Mr. Wright, the" contractor, who has erected the bridge, the ironwork being supplied to him. We can only say that Mr. Wright's work appears to be rery well done, but whether his foundations were deep enough to resist .the pressure they aro asked to stand, time will show. A light wrought-iron girder bridge of ten feet less span would have answered all purposes and have cost about £1200 or £1500. However, as we have got this bridge, let us hope it will stand for ever and prove itself as strong as it looks. The iron was supplied from Fox and Henderson's yards and the castings seem very good. Some of the girders, however, wcrt fractured, and had to be strengthened with wrought plates. Whether these fractures occurred on tin voyage, or as it seemed to us in some cases in the cooling, we cannot say. Of three iron bridges now in Canterbury, the swing bridge at Eaiapoi, made ii Mr. Anderson's yards in Christchurch, was, we believe, much the cheapest. It does seem very strang< that for such very little bridges as these we should be unable to knock up common girders, without sending to Ergland. The Albiok Cricket Club. —The sixth annua general meeting of the Albion Cricket Club was held on Friday evening last, at the City Hotel. It was numerously attended, and from the statements made seems to be in as nourishing a state as in any yeai since its existence. It was resolved that the opening match of the season bo played on Latimer square oi Wednesday next, when a bat of the best kind pro curable is to be presented to Mr. G. Turner (the honorary secretary), for his arduous exertions during six years' tenure of office. Volttnteek Cataljiy.— Steps are being taken witl considerable success for the formation of a volunteei cavalry troop in Christchurch. On Saturday upwards of 30 members were enrolled, and there seems everj likelihood of a sufficient number being obtained tc form two troops. It seems to bo by far the niosl popular movement that has yet taken place in reference to the volunteers, and the corps will, if pro perly organised, be equally as useful as the rifle companies. The formation of a corps of engineers is alsc about to take place we understand, but as yet no decisive steps have been taken.
Press, Press, Volume V, Issue 595, 26 September 1864
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