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Historic Henderson bridge closes

Media Release

31 May 2005

Historic Henderson bridge closes

Coronation Bridge, the pedestrian link beside Great North Road, from the Corban Hill Carpark across the Opanuku Stream to Henderson will be closed from 1 June 2005.

Waitakere City Council decided to bring the proposed closing forward because of poor weather forecasts.

High stream levels after storms, in recent years, have undermined the historic bridge’s foundations and for the last year, as a safety precaution, it has been regularly closed during storms.

The Council had decided to permanently close the bridge in mid-June after nearly 100 years of service, but brought the closing date forward when the Indian summer came to an abrupt end at the weekend.

Safety provisions will be made for pedestrians to use the footpath on the eastern side of the Great North Road bridge.

The bridge was opened in 1911, in time for the coronation of King George V.

The reinforced concrete bridge spanning the Opanuku Stream at the junction of Great North Road and Henderson Valley Rd will be discussed at the City Development Committee on Thursday.

Councillor Ewen Gilmour says the bridge is showing “clear signs of erosion and structural failure.”

“We are concerned for public safety and will be looking at a range of options which include repairing or demolishing the bridge and building a new footbridge,” he says.

The Coronation Bridge is listed under the Waitakere City Council District Plan as a Category II heritage item.

Council officers recommend that the bridge is demolished and replaced with a new footbridge attached to Great North Road at a cost of $421,000.

Historical Note:

A brass plaque records that the bridge was erected by the Waitemata County Council and the chairman (A. Cochran), engineer (G.A. Jackson) and builders’ (Turner and Beadle) names are inscribed on it.

Henderson’s Coronation Bridge is one of many structures throughout the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries built to celebrate King George’s ascension to the British Throne in 1911. His coronation, an elaborate affair, sparked a “Festival of Empire” in which competitive sport was played by the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand – this was the forerunner to the Commonwealth Games, which began following the Great War of 1916-1918.

In New Zealand, the King's coronation inspired a plethora of structures in his honour, including Coronation halls at Waipu, Dunedin, Masterton and Albany.

--ends--

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