Bridge claims disputed

Claims about one of Cambridge’s two bridges over the Waikato River are wrong and could cause alarm, the district council says.

Council transportation manager Bryan Hudson says the bridge has been assessed as in “fair to good’ condition.

But the council says inaccurate claims, which refer to Council reports on the high-level bridge, have appeared on Facebook.

The posts made “inaccurate assumptions” about the condition of the bridge pins, deck and its supporting structure, council says.

Three council reports have been released as a result of requests made under the Official Information Act.

“Council has, over the years, had some very expert bridge specialists inspect and give advice on the prudent and safe maintenance of the Victoria Bridge,” Brian Hudson said. “he current detailed investigations are an example of this.

“Bridge engineers have viewed all of the inspection data and have not raised any issues that need immediate attention. We have no concerns about the safety of the bridge and nor should Cambridge residents.”

He said information and images had been pulled out of the reports and the assumptions made about them created a false picture of the bridge and its safety.

“Instead of taking to Facebook and sharing incorrect information, we would much rather have residents call Council and speak to us directly about any concerns they have regarding the bridge.”

Rust and corrosion, which were the basis of several of the claims, were expected due to the length of time since the bridge was last painted, he said.

“The level of corrosion present today is not significantly changed from that present in 1996. The 1998-99 repair work added significant extra steel strengthening plates around the central pins.

“The bridge was repainted after those repair works, and the paint system now is coming to the end of its life, meaning some surface corrosion is showing up again as is usual for structures of this type and age.”

The bridge is due a $2.5-3 million paint and repair job in 2022-2023 when areas highlighted in the report will be addressed.

Brian Hudson said a final report which would involve an inspection and analyse of the condition of the bridge deck would be carried out in the coming months.

“Further investigations are to be made into the condition of the deck including drilling out some small cores for examination and exposing reinforcing steel to check on condition. We do not have any immediate concerns about the deck but recognise it as a long-term issue to address.”

He said investigations on the condition of the bridge will be finished by June and the results would be made public.

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