Walkers and cyclists now have safer access across Auckland's busy Northwestern Motorway (State Highway 16) with the official opening today of the Westgate Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge.
The distinctive bright yellow bridge is 209 metre long and spans the Northwestern Motorway in Massey North. Its three metre-wide shared path for pedestrians and cyclists provides a safe connection between the Manutewhau Walk Reserve in West Harbour and the Westgate Shopping Centre.
This morning’s ribbon cutting ceremony was led by Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, together with NZTA and AT executives, iwi leaders and the local community.
The NZTA’s State Highways manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says the opening could not be better timed to coincide with the start of the new school year.
"The bridge will help make the community safer, especially for children - whether they are walking or cycling across the bridge. It means that no longer will people have to take unnecessary risks by running across the motorway as a shortcut between homes and the shopping centre on the other side of the highway,” Mr Parker says.
Before the bridge was constructed, children and adults had used SH16 as an illegal short cut to the shopping centre, putting themselves and motorway users at risk. A schoolboy died after being hit by a vehicle while trying to cross the highway in 2004.
Auckland Transport’s Community Transport Manager, Matthew Rednall, says the bridge will be an important feature of the west Auckland community.
“This stunning bridge at last provides a safe link for pedestrians and cyclists in these two fast growing areas of Auckland.”
Completion of the bridge marks the end of the Hobsonville Deviation project, connecting SH16 and SH18. The project is part of the development of the Western Ring Route. As one of the NZTA’s seven Roads of National Significance, the Western Ring Route will improve transport links in Auckland and provide an alternative to SH1 through the city.
The NZTA worked closely with community leaders to secure funding and approval for the $6M Westgate pedestrian and cycle bridge.
It features ramps at each end for mobility users and special lighting to improve safety at night. The bridge has been painted yellow, complementing the nearby yellow Clarks Lane Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge, also designed by Jasmax as part of the Hobsonville Deviation project. The Manutewhau Walk Reserve has been enhanced with landscaping, and old pine trees replaced with native plantings.
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