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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  1. I have previously blogged about this, with some added info and images.

    The costs are likely to be pretty sizable, seeing the amount of motorway lanes it has to clear. My personal GUESS (I am not claiming this is exact) is that the cost is between 3 and 6 million. In other words, around a third of NZ’s YEARLY dedicated walking and cycling money. Which is more a condemnation of how ridiculously low the walking and cycling budget is, rather than because this bridge is gold-plated in any way (it isn’t from where I stand).

    Good on NZTA though that they didn’t defer this one – seeing that they currently have a “no new projects to be started” moratorium.

    1. Oh, and yes – part of the impetus for doing this bridge now, and not moving it out another couple years was a fatality about 3 years back.

  2. The yellow grid structure gives them a chance to put a roof on the overpass. It may be raining and uncovered on each end of the overpass but there are likely to be buildings and trees and other shelter from the rain. Whereas the overpass itself is exposed to all the elements and could benefit from a roof.

    1. I guess you could do that, but I would not see it as a strong benefit. If it rains, it rains – those people who are discouraged by rain from walking or cycling won’t be doing it because the bridge (probably 1-2% of their journey, less for a cyclist) has a cover. To have a useful sheltering effect, it would also need at least some side screening to prevent driving rain from getting in, and if you do that then you start to get actual design impacts (wind loading etc…) which drive the price up. I’d rather spend that money elsewhere – covered footbridges are suited for CBDs in my view, rather than for almost semi-rural suburbs like here.

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