A working bee of 19 volunteer builders will be on site Saturday March 3rd to carry out the first stage of the restoration of the Friendly Bay Rail Footbridge in the Oamaru Harbour Precinct.
The restoration of the footbridge, situated at Wansbeck Street, is a project that has been considered for some time by members of the Oamaru community and Council officers.
The Friendly Bay Railway Bridge Restoration Trust was created last year to spearhead the fundraising and physical works alongside the Oamaru Rotary Club for this restoration project. These are all volunteers from the community.
A condition report for the restoration of the bridge was commissioned and this forms the basis for planned restoration works. The structure dates from circa 1924 with alterations from the 1960’s. As the bridge is in the historic harbour area Historic Places Trust representatives have been consulted and informed of progress to date.
The project is to restore the footbridge to a usable state. This involves stripping the bridge of any rotten timber and replacing with either recycled timber from other bridges or new timber where applicable, and the restoration of any iron work.
Restoration of the rail footbridge will bring back the historical link between the Oamaru Harbour and the Victorian stone buildings in the historic precinct. The bridge is an important link to the development of rail in the town and the main trunk line.
The link for current and future generations is that of being alongside the final stage of the Alps to Ocean Cycleway and opposite the developing destination playground on the harbour front. This project forms an integral part of the redevelopment and refocuses on the Oamaru harbour for the community benefit.