Photo: New abutments being prepared at Waihi end of the bridge.
Press Release - 20th September 2017
This bridge was built in 1905 and is one of 3 railway bridges on the Waihi to Waikino line of Goldfields Railway Inc. This bridge is sited just 400 metres from the Waikino station and spans the Waitekauri River. This bridge is the last remaining wooden truss railway bridge still in use in NZ.
Each year Goldfields line(track) and bridges are inspected by NZ Transport Agency agents to ensure they are fit for operation. Goldfields were advised in 2015 that the bridge would need to be replaced if they were to continue to operate in 2018.
A plan was developed and consent filed with Hauraki District Council to replace the bridge by placing a new steel bridge inside the existing wooden truss bridge.
The plans were put up for tender and the successful tenderer was Bridge It NZ. This company had previously built the replacement bridge for the Waitete Stream crossing for Goldfields Railway.
This work will cost $450,000 and includes the relaying of the bridge approaches.
Funding was obtained from Lotteries Heritage, The Lion Foundation, Hauraki District Council, the Waikato Trust and Goldfields Railway’s own funds .
Civil Engineers Pinnacles Civil of Waihi were engaged to manage the project and have been excellent in providing advice and guidance to Goldfields Management Committee.
A date for work to begin was set and Bridge It began building the steel framework in July 2017.
In viewing the existing wooden truss bridge the question of the life term of the wooden bridge which would remain in place was discussed and it was decided that a liability would exist in the future even when the loading was removed by building a new steel bridge inside it.
Following lengthy discussions with Rail Heritage NZ, the Hauraki District Council and Heritage NZ it was agreed to proceed as planned and maintain the wooden bridge in place with offers of assistance provided by HDC and RHNZ should the wooden bridge need work to maintain it in the future.
Goldfields Railway look forward to the completion of this bridge work in Nov and certification by NZ Transport Agency Rail Division in December.
Further information on this project can be obtained by contacting Goldfields Railway 07 8630 9020.
Goldfields Railway Inc.