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Bridge installation 'crux point' for Sharplin Falls

Bridge installation 'crux point' for Sharplin Falls
Fulton Hogan has been busy preparing the bridge sections before they are to be flown in by helicopter next week for the new Sharplin Falls Walkway.

Two steel bridges are waiting to be flown into the new Sharplin Falls Walkway next week.
Mt Somers Walkways Society president, Charles Ross, said the complex installation of the two 28.8m bridges is the crux point of the entire project, so it was set to be a big week.
“There is a heavy lift helicopter coming next week to lift all the bridge sections in.
Scaffolding is currently being set up for the installation of the bridges to make it easier and safer to bolt the bridges in place.
“It’s quite a complicated process, but we are looking forward to having it done.
“It’s a locally treasured destination, and the community has been right behind us.”
Fulton Hogan has prepared the four bridge sections, weighing around 1500kg each, to ensure they will fit in the already completed foundations when they are flown in.
The installation of the bridges is the major component of the new walkway, and will mark a major milestone in the project that will restore safe access to Sharplin Falls.
Rockfalls on the track during and after the 2011 earthquakes meant that DOC permanently closed the track due to safety concerns in 2017.
Following extensive consultation with DOC and geologists, the society has undertaken to build a new track themselves and that process reaches a climax with the bridge installation, paving the way for the track to be completed.
Ross said the society’s volunteers have had a busy summer prepping the new track that has been cut through the bush by Cam Bissett.
“Cam has made the track and the members are doing the gravelling and final touches.
“It’s been a wet summer, which hasn’t made things easy but has highlighted any potential wet areas, so it has been to our advantage.”
Once the bridges are bolted in place there is still some track work to be completed before the society seeks DOC sign off to reopen access to Sharplin Falls.
“It will take a couple of months to get things all tidied up,” Ross said.
The cost of the two steel bridges has made up the bulk of the cost of the project, which is estimated to be around $470,000.
Ashburton District Deputy Mayor, Liz McMillan, said it will be fantastic to have the track up and running again.
She often used to take her children up the old track prior to its closure, and the new track will be a valued asset to the community and the district.
“Everyone who has been involved in that project along the way, the thousands of volunteer hours, have done an amazing job.”

  • By Jonathan Leask