An important landmark from Christchurch’s Avonside and Richmond communities is on its way back as a commemorative structure.
A section of the twisted Medway Street footbridge, which was damaged beyond repair in the September 2010 earthquake, is going to be placed alongside Te Ara Ōtākaro, the transitional Avon River Trail, just north of the bridge’s original location, on the Avonside side of the river.
Signs will be put up detailing the history and significance of the bridge, which will be visible from the River Road platform that was installed as part of the Dudley Creek diversion.
Before the earthquakes the Medway Street footbridge was an important link between the surrounding neighbourhoods across the Avon River.
The bridge was mangled in the earthquakes and became a symbol of the quake's destructive power. It was subsequently cut into three pieces and stored for future use, at the request of the local communities.
Bringing the bridge back as a commemorative structure was identified as a priority by the Avon-Otakaro Network(external link) (AvON), Regenerate Christchurch(external link) and Christchurch City Council Enliven Places Programme(external link).
The site chosen was picked because of the ease of access and clear visibility.
“The ‘munted’ Medway Bridge is a significant symbol of the impact of the earthquakes on the communities of the east. The site also has a tragic local history that needs acknowledgement,’’ says AvON spokesperson Evan Smith.
“Three-quarters of those surveyed from local communities in 2012 sought the return of the bridge as a commemorative structure. It also remains an important River of Flowers memorial site.
“The current structure is a transitional one. One day we hope to have the full structure reassembled and displayed at this location. We also need to replace the lost footbridges to re-establish the connections across the river between communities and amenity.
“We have been pleased to have been involved in this project since initiating it in 2017 and hope it will help re-engage local communities and former residents in the regeneration of the area,’’ Mr Smith says.
The Medway Street Bridge commemorative structure will be completed and opened at the end of October.