Ashburton Courier: November 14, 2019


Page 26, Ashburton’s The Courier, Thursday 14 November 2019

Local news at

Gorge bridge has astory to tell

The cold, clear waters of

the glacier­fed Rakaia

River flow through

impressive high terraces

and under the Rakaia

Gorge bridge before

heading across the

Canterbury Plains and

ultimately into the

Pacific Ocean.

At this time of the

year, the snow capped

peaks to the west provide

an impressive white


Many vantage points,

at both river and bridge

level, offer impressive

views of the power of the

river, its changing colour

and its majestic setting.

Amemorial plaque

above the river at the

Rakaia Gorge bridge

tells visitors that in the

days of the early settlers,

John Bryan transported

passengers, stock and

freight over the river on a


He and his wife also

ran an accommodation

house nearby.

The original iron

bridge at the gorge was

built in 1885 and a

wooden bridge, erected

over the southern

channel in 1884, was

replaced in 1945 by a

concrete structure.

Last year around $1.2

million was spent on deck

replacement on the

main, single lane iron

bridge, referred to as the

No.1 bridge.

As well as replacing

the deck, the work

included refurbishing

handrails and

strengthened structural

elements and took

around four months to


Photos: The

refurbished Rakaia

Gorge No.1 bridge from

the river level; aview of

the bridge from the river;

amemorial plaque tells

visitors about the early

pioneer days at the river.

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