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The Westgate Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge

This news seemed to slip through in December unnoticed. Auckland Transport and the NZTA are planning on building a bridge over SH16 near Westgate to help improve accessibility and safety. As it is at the moment there are very limited options for people in the area to get to the Westgate shopping area other than driving due to the motorway cutting between the two areas (and Hobsonville Rd over the motorway isn’t the most friendly place to be walking). The safety aspect is to stop kids running across the motorway due to their not being any real other options and from memory one was killed doing just that some years ago. Here’s what AT have to say:

To improve access and safety, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Transport are building a fully-accessible walking and cycling bridge across SH16 near the Westgate shopping centre.

The bridge will connect Oreil Avenue at Manutewhau Walk reserve to Westgate Drive near the Westgate Shopping Centre. Work is expected to begin early in January 2012 and will take approximately one year to complete.

The Northwestern Motorway currently divides east and west Massey, meaning those on the eastern side have limited access to the new town centre, shopping, schools and community resources. The bridge will remedy this and provide a safer, more accessible connection across the motorway for pedestrians and cyclists.

As part of the project, the Manutewhau Walk reserve will also be revitalised. Whilst some of the trees in the area are in poor condition and will need to be removed, significant new planting will take place. A decision on the location of the bridge took into account the vicinity to housing, technical factors such as gradient and the existing creek.

In order to gain the required length, it was necessary to design a curved or ‘wave’ bridge which will connect onto the embankment leading to Oriel Avenue. A steel framework will support the bridge and allow for unobstructed views in the reserve.

Community consultation was undertaken in 2007 on a range of options by the former Waitakere City Council. In 2009 the New Zealand Transport Authority together with the former Waitakere City Council jointly commissioned preliminary designs. Three options were investigated and assessed but wave bridge option was identified as the preferred option.

And here an idea of what it should eventually look like.

Where it joins Oreil Ave

No word on how much this is costing but hopefully we see a few more of these types of projects helping to fix communities that are severed by motorways.

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