Things were built to last in 1800s but this heritage rail bridge stills need a bit of love and care.

The wrought-iron structure has been steadfastly spanning the Waiteti Stream between Te Kuiti and Puketutu for the past 129 years, but it was due for a makeover.

Kiwi Rail and Abseil Access have been undertaking strengthening and refurbishment work on the structure which is 128m long and 25.6m tall at its highest point.

Refurbishment work on the bridge began last year and includes walkway repairs, strengthening of kingposts, replacement of corbels, repairs on beams and, when everything else is completed, water blasting of the steel structure. The line has remained open throughout the work, for both passenger and freight operations. That meant scaffolding and work in harnesses was required.

The most challenging part of the refurbishment was when they had to lift the bridge for enough clearance to get old timber out and the replacement in.

The work should be completed by Christmas.

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