Fate of rail bridge to be decided

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The fate of the Oamaru Creek Bridge 160 should be known within the next 10 days.

The bridge plays a major role in connecting trains from Oamaru to Christchurch and was set up more than 100 years ago.

Oamaru Steam and Rail general manager Harry Andrew said he hoped to find out about the bridge once Kiwi Rail had made a decision.

“At this stage, we are unsure about what is going to happen to the bridge, but we hope it’s not discarded,” Mr Andrew said.

Although the bridge has been out of order for a number of years due to damage and it being unable to support the weight of a train in its current state, Mr Andrew was confident they could restore it.

“We can certainly restore the bridge, maintain it and keep it up to a required standard as it needs it.”

There is a possibility that Kiwi Rail will look to sell the bridge and if they do, Mr Andrew hopes the council would pick it up.

“We can’t afford to buy the bridge, but we hope the council would help us out and buy the bridge and we will maintain it, so that the bridge can be repaired, opened and useable for trains, so they can visit the town and even head through to the penguin colony.”

If the decision is made to not repair the bridge, then this could have an impact on the community.

“Train rides are a great way of bringing the community into Oamaru and if they take this bridge away then that effectively takes away a mode of us attracting visitors to Oamaru,” he said.

Some of the maintenance work involved with the bridge will include a new relatively high picket fence, which Mr Andrew hopes will keep out intruders.

‘If we put the bridge in we hope it will keep out some intruders and hopefully keep the maintenance of tracks in order for longer.”

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

UNDECIDED: Harry Andrew at the Oamaru Creek Bridge 160, which will have its fate decided within the next 7-10 days.