The new pedestrian/cycle bridge spanning Onehunga Harbour Road will be officially opened by the NZ Transport Agency this Thursday afternoon - 2 December 2010. It will provide much needed safe crossing across Onehunga Harbour Road between the Old Mangere Bridge and Onehunga.
The NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker, says that on average, over 15,000 vehicles use Onehunga Harbour Road to enter or exit the Southwestern Motorway [State Highway 20] each day.
"The new bridge provides a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists to cross this busy road, and will dramatically improve the connectivity between the suburbs of Mangere Bridge and Onehunga," he says.
Mr Parker says significant time was spent with local community representatives to design a bridge that most suited the needs and wishes of its users. More elaborate designs were passed over in favour of a simple look that better suited the busy environment.
The bridge itself is 3.5 metres wide with vertical side barriers to meet the needs of both pedestrians and cyclists. Its distinctive curved vertical and horizontal geometry - "not a straight line in it!", to quote the team responsible for its constructions - developed from the needs of maintaining adequate clearance over the road, providing access for people with disabilities, and maintaining visual sightlines for personal safety.
Construction of the bridge foundations was also complex due to the variable nature of the underground geology. The northern end sits on the edge of the Hopua Tuff Ring, which encircles a large infilled volcanic crater encompassing the northern side of the Landing Restaurant and Gloucester Park. Some of the bridge piles had to pass through the volcanic deposits to found 30m down on sandstone. Other piles at the south end sit on top of a thick basalt layer.
The technical difficulty of the bridge construction and its location meant at times work could be noisy and disruptive. Mr Parker extends the gratitude and thanks of the NZTA and its Alliance partners to the community.
"The NZTA and the Manukau Harbour Crossing team are really appreciative of the patience shown with the extensive works that have had to be undertaken in their area and we sincerely thank them for that," he says.
The bridge is part of a wider pedestrian / cycle network that runs from Beachcroft Avenue Bridge through Onehunga, across Old Mangere Bridge and through Waterfront Road Reserve. It also provides excellent connectivity to the Waikaraka Walkway which runs around the upper reaches of the Mangere arm of the Manukau Harbour from Onehunga, around through Penrose and back to Mangere Bridge.