Sadness as iconic bridge closes
When the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) announced in November that the Old Māngere Bridge was closing at the end of the month, it was a great shock to many people. Sad about the loss of the 100 year-old iconic landmark, hundreds took to social media and reminisced about the old times; hanging out, walking, fishing, and riding along the bridge. Others expressed concern about the alternative walking and cycling route; the underpass under the motorway which they say is unsafe and dirty.
New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) director of regional relationships, Steve Mutton, said, “We’re just as concerned that the alternative route over the motorway bridge is safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
“There is now security on the alternative route 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure people feel safe to use it. We’ve upgraded the lighting and raised the side barrier to 1.4m so it meets the safety standard for cyclists. We’ve cleaned up the walkway, painted over graffiti and we are installing CCTV.”
Although it seemed to come out of the blue, news of the closure should not have come as a total shock. In 2014, the NZTA announced that the bridge would have to be replaced due to its on-going deterioration. In 2016, the sides of the bridge were fenced off, as there were serious structural and safety concerns.
Construction of the new bridge, described by Mutton as “an important community link”, will start next year, and It is expected to take about two and a half years to build the replacement.
The new bridge will be at least eight metres wide – and up to 12 metres in some bays to enable fishing. It will curve towards the motorway bridge, and will be high enough for small boats to pass underneath . It will also have a wider span to allow some form of opening for larger boats in the future. The new bridge will be constructed next to the old bridge using the same abutments – but further away from the port.
The Old Māngere Bridge will be demolished during construction of the new structure. Leaving it in the harbour is not an option as it poses a risk to people passing underneath