The Oamaru Mail reports that the twin bridges across the Waitaki River between Kurow and Hakataramea are to be replaced.
This is very good news.
The old bridges are at the end of their lives and have been closed several times in the last few years.
Each time that happens people wanting to get from one side to the other face a round trip of more than 100 kilometres.
The new bridges will have a cycle-pedestrian path on the downstream side and will provide a dependable alternative route if State Highway 1 at its Waitaki River Bridge was closed.
The project will increase the capacity for over-sized vehicles, such as agricultural machinery and freight, to use SH82 rather than detour to use SH1.
Replacing the ageing structures has been a hot topic with civic leaders, including Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, Waimate Mayor John Coles, residents and service providers. . .
Mrs Dean said she was “very pleased” by the announcement.
“In a very constrained budget, bearing in mind the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes, I’m really pleased to see that funding has been approved,” she said.
“This is major achievement for all of us. A lot of time and effort, both here in the Waitaki and at Parliament, went towards having the bridges’ faults recognised and to push for new replacements and I’m happy our efforts have paid off.”
Although she shares the credit, talking of “we” and “us”, it is she as the local MP who has done a lot of the hard work needed behind the scenes to put the case for funding the new bridges.
When locals have an issue the MP gets blamed if they don’t get what they want when they want it and this happened over the bridges. I won’t hold my breath waiting for the people who criticised her to now say thanks.
Agitation and blame get headlines, hard work doesn’t and sadly it rarely even gets acknowledgement.