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Bridge installation is under way on Southern Motorway

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Construction of a landmark new pedestrian bridge is under way over the Southern Motorway at Pescara Point in Papakura as part of the Southern Corridor Improvements project.

The bridge will take shape over the new few weeks, with the first of four sections being installed on Thursday night. The work will take place at night because the motorway must be closed to enable cranes to enter and lift the bridge supports and each section into place safely. 

The finished bridge will comprise of three spans, supported by two piers.  The overall length of the bridge will be 106.5m, made up of three spans between 30m and 45m long.  The central and longest span will be lifted into place in two parts, each 22.5m long, and will be supported by a temporary pier in the centre of the motorway while the two sections are welded together, creating a single span 45m long.

The bridge will be a curved shape, designed to reflect the natural contour of the coastal environment beside it.  The overall design of the bridge takes the skeletal form of a tuna (eel) and includes a scale-type pattern (referred to as niho-niho) within the balustrade design and on the retaining wall approaches.

The first section of the new pedestrian bridge over the Southern Motorway arrives on site

The first section of the new pedestrian bridge over the Southern Motorway arrives on site

The new walkway bridge will be 3.1m wide and will be installed with at least 6.2m clearance above the motorway traffic lanes.  The steel bridge will be black in colour and will include white night up-lighting and safety lighting. 

NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager Project Delivery, Andrew Thackwray, says motorists will need to take extra care and drive safely during the installation period to avoid being distracted by the changes above them. 

“We’re advising drivers to keep their eyes on the road and watch their following distances when they’re approaching Pescara Point, especially during the morning and afternoon peak travel times.” 

The Southern Motorway (SH1) will be closed from 10pm until 5am between Papakura and Takanini Interchanges over several week nights.  Drivers are advised to plan ahead, follow the detours and look out for reminders on overhead and electronic signs. 

The bridge will link via a loop ramp into a new 4.5km shared use path for pedestrians and cyclists being formed on the western side of the motorway between the Papakura and Takanini interchanges.  

On both sides of the motorway, the bridge will connect to existing coastal paths beside the Manukau Harbour and Pahurehure Inlet, and also to local roadside footpaths.  The shared use path being built beside the motorway will also provide connections into communities along its length and coastal paths at Conifer Grove. 

After the bridge spans have been installed, the bridge will remain closed while finishing work is completed. 

The Southern Corridor Improvements project covers the stretch of State Highway 1 from the SH20 / SH1 connection at Manukau down to the Papakura interchange in the south.  The project includes additional lanes in both directions and an upgraded Takanini Interchange as well as the shared use path and this prominent bridge at Pescara Point. 

For more information visit: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/southern-corridor-improvements(external link) or call the project freephone number of 0508 NZTA SCI (0508 6982 724)

An artist impression of the new pedestrian bridge over the Southern Motorway at Pescara Point

An artist impression of the new pedestrian bridge over the Southern Motorway at Pescara Point

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