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Bridge repaint signals start of River Plan

8 April 2015

Cobham Bridge is about to become a highly visible symbol of Hamilton City Council’s River Plan, with bright blue paint set to replace its steel grey colour palette.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker says the new colour scheme is the first tangible sign implementation of the River Plan is underway.

"The River Plan will transform the way we use and view the river in our city and painting the bridge blue is a very visible sign this project is becoming a reality," she says.

The new colour scheme – blue for the bridge’s four girders and white for the handrails – was devised by Hamilton architect Mark Wassung.

“On a fine day, the river has blue and white reflections from the sky and clouds that make it sparkle and dance,” he says.  “The blue brings to mind clean, fresh water imagery which is aligned with on-going river clean-up initiatives. The white handrail is deliberately a sharp, crisp, contrast like shimmering reflections off the water.”

A mural on the eastern and western sides of the bridge, painted three years ago by Hamilton artist Jeremy Shirley, will be replaced during the repainting process. Mr Shirley says he wants to bring light, colour and energy to an area that would otherwise be dark and gloomy.

The NZ Transport Agency – which builds and maintains State Highways – is doing the work as part of the bridge’s scheduled repaint, and will also cover the cost of repainting the artwork.

Transport Agency contractors have begun sandblasting the bridge beams, which are fully covered by plastic sheets during the preparation and painting process. The covers will be removed progressively as each segment is completed, which means motorists may have a glimpse of the new paint palette over the Easter weekend. Other city bridges will also be repainted as their maintenance schedule permits.

Transport Agency Highways Manager Kaye Clark said the agency was more than happy to work in with the city council’s River Plan and replace the grey paintwork with the new ultramarine blue.

"It's 30 years since Cobham Bridge was painted and we expect the new paint job to last for 40 years and create a colourful southern entrance to the city," she says.

The Council has agreed to fund implementation of the River Plan through its draft 10-Year Plan. It has agreed to the provision of:

  • $250,000 in the 2014/15 financial year
  • $500,000 in each subsequent year, for the next decade.

The money will fund master planning, provide a detailed blueprint for several key projects and kick-start a range of other projects within the River Plan and contribute to several other smaller pieces of work.

In the first two years, the bulk of the funding will go towards:

  • a master plan for the Ferrybank and Roose Commerce Park, which will outline how the area will be developed over the coming decades
  • Hayes Paddock/Wellington St beach development. This will identify the enhancements needed to the river bank and park area. It will also look at the feasibility and design of a river-based swimming feature
  • creation of a Pukete ‘flower bridge’. This will involve designing and developing a landscaped garden on the existing Pukete pedestrian bridge, by Braithwaite Park.

Development of a vegetation management plan and work on the restoration of significant Maori sites will also get underway over the next two years.