Awatere Road Rail Bridge 1902 to 2007
For over 100 years the bridge at Seddon over the Awatere River has carried road and rail traffic, a unique link on State Highway One. This all changed in October 2007 when the new road bridge opened.
The original bridge was completed in April 1902 and officially opened on the 10th of October 1902. It was the cause for major celebration. The day was declared a public holiday in Blenheim and 1500 people traveled free to Seddon for the opening. The opening ceremony was carried out by Sir Joseph Ward, Acting Premier and Minister of Railways. The town of Starborough was renamed Seddon at this ceremony.
The bridge was designed by Peter Seton Hay and built by the contractors Messrs Scott Bros of Christchurch for £22,500. The addition of the wind barrier increased the price by a further £1,118. Building began in April 1899, taking 3 years to complete. The new road bridge at around $15,000,000 has taken HEB Smithbridge less than two years (including the approach roads).
Trains continue to rumble over the rail bridge but that frustrating wait for road traffic is a thing of the past. Trucks no longer need to worry about being wedged on a bridge that was designed for traffic of the early 1900s and car occupants will not be shaken to bits on the wooden decking.
For further information on the construction of the replacement bridge, follow this link: New bridge over the Awatere River
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand: volume 5. Nelson, Marlborough and Westland Provincial Districts. Cyclopedia Company, Ltd. Christchurch, 1906.
Kennington, A.L. The Awatere: a district and its people. Marlborough County Council, Blenheim, 1978.
McIntosh, A.D. (ed). Marlborough: a provincial history. Marlborough Provincial Historical Committee, Blenheim, 1940.
Marlborough Press 11 October 1902, page 2(?). Marlborough Press, Blenheim, 1902.
Thornton, Geoffrey. Bridging the gap: early road bridges in New Zealand 1830 - 1939. Reed, Auckland, 2001.