THE RAKAIA RIVER
TWO NOW PROJECTED
It is'flikely that two new bridges will ac erected over the Rakaia River withn the next eighteen months, states the "hristchurch "Press." Already the Railways Board has approved of plans , " Eor a new railway bridge to replace the present one, and the Main Highways Board has practically reached a definite decision to span the same river.'with a new two-way traffic bridge alongside the railway bridge. The total cost of the two bridges will .be more than £150,000. . 1 The General Manager of New. Zealand Railways (Mr. G. H. Mackley) has informed "The Press" that': the Railways Board had definitely decided that the erection of a new railway bridge over the Rakaia would be under- \ taken in the financial year 1936-37. The board had approved of tentative plans. The estimated cost of the new brjdge was £85,000. It was not expected that the work would be completed before the end of next year. • TWO-WAY TRAFFIC BRIDGE. . An official statement was also made about a new highway bridge over the Rakaia, proposed by the. Main Highways Board. . The Chief Public ;Works Engineer, Mr. C. J. McKenzie, said that the board was considering, the erection of the bridge, and had practically dfr cided to go ahead with the proposal. A definite decision depended on the replies received from interested local authorities about the contributions they were prepared to make towards the cost of the bridge. It. was expected that the total cost of' constructing a two-way traffic bridge would' be between £60,000 and £70,000. The new bridge would be of reinforced concrete, and would be almost alongside the present railway bridge. It was possible that it would be somewhat shorter than the present bridge, . and investigations were being made to this end. There was a likelihood that in constructing the bridge it would.be' (possible to make the approaches much ■ longer than those to the present' railway bridge, and so shorten the actual bridging necessary. No details about the construction were .yet; available. LONGEST IN NEW ZEALAND. The Rakaia railway bridge is the longest in the Dominion, and the original portion of it was erected as far back as 1871. The length was then 4500 feet, but in 1882 it was extended' on the south side by 1440 feet, making a total length of 5940 feet. The struc- - ture is entirely of wood. ■ INCREASE IN CHARGE. In June, 1931, the Railway Department announced its intention to increase the charge made against the Main Highways Board for the use of the bridge as a highway. It' was stated at that time that the bridge was fast approaching the period when its use as a railway bridge would cease; ths heavy trains which had passed over it making it necessary to erect a new structure in the near future. Early in 1932 the proposal for a new bridge was again put forward, and in January of that year the Public Works Department, on behalf of the Main Highways Board, started a survey of the riverbed to ascertain the length of a new bridge should it be decided to build one. It was stated that if a new bridge should be erected it -would be a more substantial structure than the existing one. The Railway Department would need a powerful bridge to carry the heavy trains that would pass over it daily. It was stated at that time that any suggestion for a separate bridge for road traffic would be welcomed, as with tha one bridge for both road and railway traffic considerable delay was often caused. RIVER SURVEY COMPLETED.The survey carried out by the Public Works Department was finished in March, 1933. It was then considered possible that the existing bridge would be handed over to the roading authorities for use as a public highway, and a new bridge erected to take the railway. The Department had collected data relating to the fall, flood level of the river, and v the variation in width, to ascertain if a new bridge could be built shorter than the old one. In June of this year negotiations were made for the sale of the bridge by the Railway Department to the Main Highways Board. In the event of sale to the Main Highways Board it was proposed that a new railway bridge would be constructed, and the old bridge used solely for road traffic. It was stated at that time that negotiations had reached such a point that the Department was perfectly willing to sell the bridge provided a satisfactory price could be obtained for it. The Railway Department was faced either with having to undertake considerable modification to the present structure, or with selling it and putting in a new one a little further upstream. It was also reported by a railway official on this occasion that the bridge had always been kept in .good repair and that it could be made to last.for many years more for highway traffic. . ■
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BRIDGING PLANS, Evening Post, Volume CXX, Issue 109, 4 November 1935
BRIDGING PLANS Evening Post, Volume CXX, Issue 109, 4 November 1935
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