Regular readers will likely know about the plans by the NZTA to replace the old Mangere Bridge which is now more almost 100 years old and requires a lot of maintenance to keep open. One of the massive advantages of the old bridge is that being a former road it is quite wide and it has become a very popular spot for walking, cycling and fishing with the width allowing everyone to happily do these activities without impacting on others. This is shown quite well in this time-lapse the NZTA made on a mid-winters day (imagine just how much busier it would be in summer)
However people were annoyed, not because of the plan to replace the bridge but because the new bridge was proposed to be only 6m wide. If it were a new pedestrian/cycle bridge that width would be considered wonderful but the current bridge is around 15m wide and so the replacement would represent a significant narrowing of the path. That might have been ok if it was just walkers and cyclists but throw in people fishing and things can quickly get quite narrow.
So some good news today from the NZTA that as a result of the feedback they received, they are going to make the replacement wider. Here is the press release.
Community feedback from both sides of Auckland’s Manukau Harbour has made a significant impact on the next phase of the NZ Transport Agency’s project to replace the Old Mangere Bridge.
The Transport Agency has advertised tenders to design the new bridge and its Highway Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says that design will include features requested by the community.
“We’ve heard them very clearly and we’re delighted to be able to respond positively to ensure the new bridge continues to be a much loved and popular connection between communities,” Mr Parker says.
Mr Parker says one the most significant changes is that the bridge will be wider than the six metres the Transport Agency had originally planned for.
“The bridge will now be designed to have a basic width of eight metres, with some sections or bays up to 12 metres wide. This will ensure that people can continue to enjoy to fish from the new bridge and walk and cycle across it safely just as they do now.”
Other elements to be included in the design of the new bridge include:-
- Constructed next to the old bridge and further from the port
- A higher clearance above the harbour than the existing bridge for better boat access (the new bridge, however, must have a gradient that is comfortable for walkers and cyclists)
- Enhanced lighting, seating, railings and rubbish bins
- Features yet to be confirmed that reflect the area’s iwi connections and rich history
“These elements mirror the feedback we received last year,” Mr Parker says. “The project team’s worked hard to incorporate the community’s wishes and this is an excellent result for everyone.
“Identifying these issues upfront means that they can be included into the design right at the start of this phase of the project. This delivers more certainty about the cost of the bridge and value for money for the Transport Agency, and great transparency for the community.”
Mr Parker says $1m in funds has been approved for the design of the bridge. As part of the tender process, the Transport Agency is working closely with iwi, Auckland Council and the Historic Places Trust. It is anticipated a successful tender will be named in October.
There will be a second chance for community feedback in early 2014 on the detailed designed for the new bridge. The Transport Agency plans to start construction later in 2014 with completion estimated in 2016, around 100 years after the existing bridge opened.
Once the replacement bridge has been constructed, it will be transferred to Auckland Council as its asset.
The Old Mangere Bridge is believed to be the oldest reinforced concrete bridge crossing a harbour in New Zealand. With the opening of a new Southwestern Motorway spanning the Manukau Harbour in 1983, the bridge was closed to all traffic except walkers and cyclists. It is also one of Auckland’s most popular fishing locations.
That certainly seems like a decent improvement on what was originally proposed but what do you users of the bridge think of this change? It’s also interesting that the NZTA will hand it over to the council to be maintained after it has been built.
There is of course one more bridge that will be needed in the area in the future, one to carry rail on it’s way to the airport.