New bridge opened

  • 30 January 2024
  • Peter Watson

Our new bridge across the Maitai River has been officially blessed and opened.

On a glorious morning today (Jan 30) Nelson Mayor Nick Smith and Waahi Taakaro Golf Club president Paul Tunnicliff cut the ribbon on the handsome steel and wooden structure which was built on time and to budget.

It replaces two smaller permanent bridges and one temporary one either washed away or too badly damaged to use in the floods of August 2022 and May last year which left a trail of destruction through the golf course which could only be accessed through a concrete ford.

Local iwi Ngati Koata then performed a karakia before short speeches from Smith, Tunnicliff, club manager Peter Watson and bridge structural engineer Andy Reid.

The ceremony was attended by about 70 iwi, council, and contractor representatives and club members who afterwards enjoyed breakfast in the clubhouse.

Smith said the opening of the new $1.5 million bridge was another milestone in the recovery work from the August 2022 storm. 

 “Our first priority was essential infrastructure such as our main water pipes and roads, and we are now moving on to the replacement of our recreational assets. This new bridge is also consistent with our approach of building back better. It’s better sited on a straight section of the river, making it less vulnerable to scouring. Its larger span and height means it is able to withstand a larger flood event. 

 “I’d like to thank the golf club, cyclists and walkers for their patience while having this new bridge constructed.” 

Watson said the council deserved a big thank you for its commitment to the golf course and the Maitai recreation hub and he believed the bridge would boost usage of both the golf course and the network of biking and walking tracks in the valley which was a recreational jewel.

He paid special tribute to Wenham Contracting, greenkeeper Eric Shurson and club and other volunteers for their huge efforts in cleaning up after the two floods and restoring the golf course to a high standard.

It had been a challenge operating the golf course over the last 17 months when much of it was a construction site, but thanks to the use of some innovation solutions – such as installing a temporary gangplank across the river – course income, usage and club membership had been maintained at a healthy level, he said.

``We welcome the bridge in good heart.’’

Golfers, the greenkeeper, bikers and walkers would be delighted they no longer had to either wade or be driven across the river or use the gangplank to access the course, Watson said.

The bridge is yet to be named.


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