It only took 15 minutes to install, but the replacement bridge that connects Shanel Place to Mutu Street could serve Te Awamutu for generations.
Residents and council staff watched as the new bridge was installed on Friday.
Waipā District Council asset engineer Paul Strange was there for the grand event.
“It is quite a bit more substantial than the old one, the standards have changed somewhat… it is going to serve the community for a very long time,” he said.
The old bridge was replaced because it had reached the end of its economic life.
“We would have spent quite a lot of money fixing it, and we would still have a bridge that is narrow with a funny kink in it,” said Strange.
Its replacement was designed and built by Bridge It New Zealand. It is 25 metres long and weighs 10 tonnes.
After several months of storage in Hamilton, it was delivered by truck to Mangahoe Street as a single unit on Friday. The bridge was then lowered by crane onto 15-metre-deep piles.
Strange said that the bridge was an important link for high school students and people who live near Cambridge Road.
Its handrails are at 1.4 metres, the right height for cyclists, and because the bridge is wider than the one it replaced, it is more accessible for mobility scooter users.
From a crime perspective, it is safer than its predecessor because it is a straight passage without any blind spots.
“We have this thing called crime prevention through environmental design; it is all about controlling environments to make them less likely to attract crime… The straight run means it is better for that,” he said.
Thermal galvanising paint was used to ensure the bridge’s longevity. Strange explained that this was molten zinc that is sprayed onto metal to protect it from rust and corrosion, before a more typical coat of paint is applied to protect it from physical damage.
Bridge It New Zealand were also contracted to replace the Mangapiko Stream Bridge as well as two bridges in Memorial Park.
The first Memorial Park bridge was replaced in July, and The News understands that the second bridge will be replaced sometime in spring, when the Park’s ground is drier.