The Collingwood St Bridge is closed for repainting. Photo: Supplied.

Council defends bridge water blast

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Nelson City Council has defended its use of water for cleaning a central city bridge following a slew of negative comments on social media.

The council has been accused of wasting the precious resource, amidst tight restrictions, for water blasting the Collingwood Street Bridge this week  ahead of it being repainted.

“Water restrictions and you choose to do this? … Surely doing this in a few months won’t make any difference!” commented a person on the council’s Facebook page.

“There are terrible drought conditions and water restrictions that are preventing people from watering their food and the council’s priority is painting a bridge?” commented another.

However, council hit back at the comments, stating this “necessary” component of the project cannot be delayed or deferred.

“This isn’t an easy decision. We had a number of things to consider, including the availability of contractors, road closures, scaffolding, further restricting public access across the bridge and the impact of the weather,” says a council spokesperson.

“This job needs to be done now as warm weather is needed so the paint can cure correctly. If this job is left longer, then the rusting damage to the bridge will increase.”

The amount of water needed to carry out this work is estimated to be between 5000 and 7500 litres, which is around the same amount needed to fill a large spa pool.

However, they explain that the impact on water supply will be “minimal” as most of the water used will be contained, filtered and collected in a container for irrigation use.

The 64-year-old bridge was last painted five years ago.

The road and footpath on the bridge is closed until 9 March with all work expected to be completed by 30 March.