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5 May 2020

Masterton’s swingbridge across the Waipoua River is likely to be re-opened to all users by summer, after Masterton District Council approved replacing decking on the bridge to make it once again accessible to mobility scooters as well as pedestrians and cyclists.

The work, which will be put out to competitive tender, is likely to take about two months to complete. The council is hopeful it can begin in August.

The bridge near Queen Elizabeth Park was closed to all users in February to allow inspections to be carried out after problems were reported with the current timber decking lifting, thought to be caused by mobility scooters. It was later re-opened with mobility scooters prohibited.

Now the council has approved the replacement of the bridge decking with a synthetic Composite Fibre Reinforced Plastics product, which should ensure the deck will remain maintenance-free for the next 40 years.

Mayor Lyn Patterson said the bridge had been an iconic feature of the area since it was opened in 1939.

“We want the swingbridge to continue to be accessible to all users, and this option will mean it has a long life ahead of it,’ she said.