28 Oct 2018

Twisted bridge to return to the banks of the Avon

11:13 am on 28 October 2018

A twisted bridge which became a symbol of Christchurch's earthquake damage will return to the banks of the Avon River later today.

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The twisted Medway Street Bridge became a symbol of the damage from Canterbury's earthquakes. Photo: Supplied / Marty Fuller

The Medway Street footbridge, which crossed the Avon River, was seriously damaged in the September 2010 earthquake.

The Christchurch City Council dismantled the bridge due to safety concerns, and it was cut into three pieces and placed in storage at the request of local communities in 2013.

Now part of the bridge wreckage has been placed alongside the Avon River next to where it once stood as a memorial.

Evan Smith, spokesperson for the Avon-Otakaro Network, a group advocating for use of the earthquake damaged red zoned land, said it represented both beloved and tragic memories.

"For some it is just a mash-up of steel and wood that should have been dumped, a raw reminder of something they would rather forget," said Mr Smith. "But for many others it represents memories both beloved and tragic, that terrible power beyond our control, and the manifestation of mangled munted moments that changed our lived forever."

Mr Smith said the former site of the bridge had become a rallying point for local communities and a site of commemoration.

The bridge linked two suburbs, Richmond and Avonside, which lost hundreds of homes as a result of earthquake damage to land.

An official opening of the memorial structure is being held today at 6pm.

Chapel reopens

A historic chapel was reopened by the Governor-General in Christchurch yesterday for the first time since the 2011 earthquakes.

The chapel was a popular venue for weddings, baptisms and reunions, but earthquake damaged meant it was closed for the last seven years.

The extensive building repairs and strengthening have taken a year to complete.

The Christchurch City Council said the Nurses' Memorial Chapel held both national and international historical significance.

It originally opened in 1928 and is the only public hospital chapel built to commemorate women who died in War World War I and the influenza epidemic of 1918.

The small brick building features commemorative stain glass windows and sits alongside Christchurch Hospital, on the edge of Hagley Park.

The chapel will host a public open day this afternoon.