Rail heritage re-opens in time for summer visitors
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionThe difficult work of restoring the 100-year old Eastern Portal Bridge in Karangahake Gorge is now complete, and the historic railway structure has re-opened to walkers enjoying the magnificent Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway.
Date: 12 November 2010
The difficult work of restoring the 100-year old Eastern Portal Bridge in Karangahake Gorge is now complete, and the historic railway structure has re-opened to walkers enjoying the magnificent Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway. The area is host to over 60,000 visitors a year and is an iconic part of New Zealand’s mining and industrial heritage. The Department of Conservation (DOC) is working to make this part of New Zealand the best place to learn about New Zealand’s industrial heritage while enjoying the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park.
Restoration is complete with new paintwork
Jeff Milham, DOC’s Visitor Assets Programme Manager in Tauranga, says he is pleased to see the contract finished before the high season. “Corrosion of some of the steel work was the main problem with it. Contractors have been repairing, and then re-painting all the steel framing on the bridge. Our team is extremely happy that the work has been completed in time for the bulk of summer visitors, because this attraction helps make the Gorge a unique destination”.
Work on the bridge began early Autumn this year, with careful scaffolding and cladding erected to protect the Ohinemuri River from pollution by lead-based paints and other construction materials during the work. Completion of the final paint job was complicated by wet weather and lower than expected air temperatures, which meant drying-time had to be extended.
The bridge restoration is the latest in a string of historic projects in the area, and comes hot on the heels of the recent unveiling of information signage and a new walking trail at the Victoria Battery Historic Reserve in Waikino. These developments are part of a much bigger effort to develop the Kaimai Heritage Trail which features historic mining and logging remains in the northern Kaimai area, including Karangahake, Waitawheta Valley (near Waihi), and Waiorongomai Valley (near Te Aroha).