Currumbin’s new bridge
It’s wider, smoother and wearing stainless steel railings. Currumbin’s hidden rail trail has reopened! Renewed and revitalised.
In early autumn, I wrote about our local bicycle/pedestrian bridge, the history sandwich hidden in its girders and its closure for renewal. The bridge with the old railway hidden beneath our everyday walks and rides was going to be out of action.
People wearing hardhats swarmed around the old bridge, by foot, on boats, from cranes, dismantling, sanding, pointing, and placing. Tides ebbed and flowed around the bridge’s pylons. Eight full moons slid by overhead.
Without the bridge, routines had to change, different paths walked and ridden. Some destinations took longer to reach. Sometimes that meant I chose to avoid those destinations. The bridge’s absence made its usefulness shine.
And its re-emergence brought unmistakeable joy.
And its re-emergence brought unmistakeable joy. “We’ve got our bridge back!” one woman called out, with a thumbs up, as she pedalled swiftly past. A young school boy exited the bridge on his mountain bike, greeting us with a smile, a wave and a bright hello. Any shyness, teenage angst or ‘too cool’ attitude was shelved. He was clearly happy about riding over the new bridge and wanted to share his joy.
Sections of the original steel girders that needed replacing have been repurposed as signs bearing information about the bridge’s history. Two stand at each entrance to the bridge; each sign bringing a different story. I learnt about the railway’s engineer and the bridge’s specifications, saw some photos of the railway in action, peered at an etching of the original engineering plans, and thought about the bridge’s changing role over the decades.
This valuing of the past seemed to prompt recollections for some. A seventy-something on his morning walk recalled his first visit to Currumbin as a sixteen year old and fondly shared memories of how he used to catch the ferry across the creek.
Lifting the spirit of a community can happen with the simplest of things. Something as simple as a bridge – a way to traverse the creek and move easily around the neighbourhood by foot, by pedal – being given a new life and its history valued, lit the faces of many.
I felt that spark on the morning I visited the new bridge. It moved me. Such a simple piece of infrastructure adds much to the quality of our local lives.
(To see photos of what the bridge looked like before the renewal, click here.)