Mangaweka Cantilever Bridge receives heritage recognition
March 28, 2024 | Stories
Mangaweka Cantilever Bridge (List No. 9746)

This is a story from our monthly newsletter, Heritage this Month.

David Watt | Rangitīkei

The 120-year-old Mangaweka Cantilever Bridge, the first and only steel cantilever road bridge constructed in Aotearoa New Zealand, spanning the Rangitīkei River, has been listed on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero as a Category 2 historic place. 

Heritage Assessment Advisor Natalie Marshall says the bridge complements the dramatic natural environment it sits within and has historical significance for its association with the Public Works Department, which led its design and construction alongside the highly respected engineering firm, J and A Anderson Ltd.

“It has local significance for its association with the settlement and development of farming and forestry in the central Manawatū-Whanganui region. The bridge’s social significance is demonstrated by strong community support for the retention of the structure when it was threatened some years ago with demolition,” she says.

In a flood-prone area, the bridge’s cantilever design avoided mid-stream piers. Two concrete piers, built for a never-completed cylinder bridge, were extended to facilitate the design.  

The single lane bridge is approximately 141 metres long. It has a timber deck and a three-span steel truss design. The bridge is set lower down from the surrounding hills and provides a vantage point from which to appreciate the natural landscape. 

In 2016, a routine inspection of the bridge revealed significant structural deterioration and it was deemed unable to meet modern traffic demands. A new bridge was built 30 metres to the south and the Mangaweka Cantilever Bridge was reopened as a pedestrian and cycling bridge. 

It continues to be of value to those engaging in tourism and recreational activities in the region. 

Mangaweka Cantilever Bridge
Photo | Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections
Read the full entry for the Mangaweka Cantilever Bridge via the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero online.
Mangaweka Cantilever Bridge
New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero
Watt, David (author)

David Watt | Senior Outreach Advisor Regional Services
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