Questions raised over ‘great wall of concrete’

Concern at view ‘disappearing’ as balustrades go up.

Concern at view ‘disappearing’ as balustrades go up.

Gisborne District Council bowed to public pressure in early October and varied the ‘clip-on’ project on Gladstone Road Bridge to allow for see-through railings on the downstream side. The first of the new concrete replica balistrades has gone up but questions have been asked about its length and height with one critic saying: “The attractive view we have been accustomed to for the past three or four months is rapidly disappearing behind great walls of concrete”. Pictures by Liam Clayton
WHAT’S WITH ALL THE CONCRETE?: Gladstone Road Bridge view advocate Derek Allan says the size of the concrete replica balustrades going up have generated a flurry of calls. Mayor Meng Foon says the balustrades were a compromise and that at least 80 percent of the views will be seen by road users and 100 percent by those who walk and cycle over the bridge.

The first of the replica concrete balustrades have gone up on the Kaiti side of the Gladstone Road Bridge but questions have been raised about the length of the first section and its height.

A replica balustrade of the same length will be positioned at the city end of the bridge.

Gisborne District Council agreed in early October to limit the concrete replicas to both ends of the bridge to provide for river views.

The council agreed to vary the shared pathway contract to allow for see-through rails on the downstream side and it was further decided that consideration would be given later to doing the same on the other side of the bridge.

The move was sparked by calls from the public for see-through railings on the bridge.

Two of the eight replica balustrade sections, taken from a mould of the original concrete sides, had been manufactured at the time the council made the variation.

It was agreed with the contractors, New Zealand Transport Agency, and Historic Places Trust, that one would be used at each end of the bridge.

See-through metals railings will connect with the replica concrete balustrades at each end.

Bridge view advocate Derek Allan said the first replica balustrade on the harbour side had generated “a flurry” of phone calls to his home.

“People have said: ‘you may have won the battle but not the war’.

“The attractive view we have been accustomed to for the past three or four months is rapidly disappearing behind great walls of concrete.

“Worse still, the finished height appears to be 250mm to 300mm higher than the panels they replace.

“They will be higher than those now on the upstream side,” he said.

“So there will be no leaning on the new panels to watch the boats go by. It begs the question why on Earth so high? Why are the new panels sitting on a plinth rather than at walkway level as are those opposite?”

Mr Allan said he has watched cars going across the bridge from over by the courthouse and on Reads Quay.

“Their hoods were visible above the old upstream balustrade as they leave the city, but those approaching the city from the harbour side now cannot be seen at all behind the new balustrade.”

Tairawhiti Roads general manager Dave Hadfield said the new shared path, which included the replica balustrades and railings, would be higher than the upstream side.

“We needed to do strengthening work in order to cantilever the platform so the shared path is thicker as a result and is raised above the road lane.

“This has an additional benefit as it prevents cars from driving on to the shared path.”

Mr Hadfield also confirmed that the balustrade alongside the path would be comprised of eight sections.

“There will be another replica concrete balustrade of the same length positioned at the city end, with six sections in between made up of see-through railings.”

Mr Hadfield said the cost to the council of varying the NZTA-funded contract to allow for see-through railings was around $200,000.

“At this stage the contractors have told us they cannot see the extra cost going beyond that figure.”

Mayor Meng Foon, who initiated the see-through concept at the council, said the replica balustrades were a compromise.

“I would have liked the sides of the bridge to be clear from the beginning of the shared pathway but other forces have put in their pitch.

“It’s my view that with this compromise at least 80 percent of the views will be seen by road users and 100 percent by those who walk and cycle over the bridge.”

The first of the replica concrete balustrades have gone up on the Kaiti side of the Gladstone Road Bridge but questions have been raised about the length of the first section and its height.

A replica balustrade of the same length will be positioned at the city end of the bridge.

Gisborne District Council agreed in early October to limit the concrete replicas to both ends of the bridge to provide for river views.

The council agreed to vary the shared pathway contract to allow for see-through rails on the downstream side and it was further decided that consideration would be given later to doing the same on the other side of the bridge.

The move was sparked by calls from the public for see-through railings on the bridge.

Two of the eight replica balustrade sections, taken from a mould of the original concrete sides, had been manufactured at the time the council made the variation.

It was agreed with the contractors, New Zealand Transport Agency, and Historic Places Trust, that one would be used at each end of the bridge.

See-through metals railings will connect with the replica concrete balustrades at each end.

Bridge view advocate Derek Allan said the first replica balustrade on the harbour side had generated “a flurry” of phone calls to his home.

“People have said: ‘you may have won the battle but not the war’.

“The attractive view we have been accustomed to for the past three or four months is rapidly disappearing behind great walls of concrete.

“Worse still, the finished height appears to be 250mm to 300mm higher than the panels they replace.

“They will be higher than those now on the upstream side,” he said.

“So there will be no leaning on the new panels to watch the boats go by. It begs the question why on Earth so high? Why are the new panels sitting on a plinth rather than at walkway level as are those opposite?”

Mr Allan said he has watched cars going across the bridge from over by the courthouse and on Reads Quay.

“Their hoods were visible above the old upstream balustrade as they leave the city, but those approaching the city from the harbour side now cannot be seen at all behind the new balustrade.”

Tairawhiti Roads general manager Dave Hadfield said the new shared path, which included the replica balustrades and railings, would be higher than the upstream side.

“We needed to do strengthening work in order to cantilever the platform so the shared path is thicker as a result and is raised above the road lane.

“This has an additional benefit as it prevents cars from driving on to the shared path.”

Mr Hadfield also confirmed that the balustrade alongside the path would be comprised of eight sections.

“There will be another replica concrete balustrade of the same length positioned at the city end, with six sections in between made up of see-through railings.”

Mr Hadfield said the cost to the council of varying the NZTA-funded contract to allow for see-through railings was around $200,000.

“At this stage the contractors have told us they cannot see the extra cost going beyond that figure.”

Mayor Meng Foon, who initiated the see-through concept at the council, said the replica balustrades were a compromise.

“I would have liked the sides of the bridge to be clear from the beginning of the shared pathway but other forces have put in their pitch.

“It’s my view that with this compromise at least 80 percent of the views will be seen by road users and 100 percent by those who walk and cycle over the bridge.”

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John Fricker - 8 days ago
$200,000 wasted, what a rip-off cost for not much at all.
By the way, the view is ugly. How anyone can think it is attractive is a mystery to me.

Gary - 8 days ago
You're meant to be driving your car, or truck, or riding your bike across the bridge. If you want the "view" get out and walk. You will be able to see over the concrete wall with ease. And you won't be distracted by the view of earth-moving equipment, log trailers and loaders and logging ships etc that we can see every other day of the week from lots of other viewing spots.

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