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Landmark new bridge connects communities across Southern Motorway

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A landmark new pedestrian bridge will be installed over Auckland’s Southern Motorway (SH1) later this month, connecting communities on both sides of the motorway and linking to a new 4.5km walking and cycling path between Papakura and Takanini.

An artist impression shows the 106.5 metre curved bridge at Pescara Point takes the skeletal form of a tuna (eel) and will include a scale-type pattern (referred to as niho-niho) within the balustrade design and on the retaining wall approaches.

NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager Project Delivery, Andrew Thackwray says the $7m bridge is designed to reflect the natural contour of the coastal environment around it.

an artist impression of the curved $7m pedestrian bridge across the Southern Mot

An artist's impression of the curved $7m pedestrian bridge across the Southern Motorway near Papakura

The steel bridge will be 3.1m wide and stand at least 6.2m above the motorway traffic lanes.  It will be painted black, but at night will have white up-lighting and safety lighting.

“While the Southern Corridor Improvements project is improving motorway capacity and efficiency, the reality is that cycling is Auckland’s fastest growing transport mode and this bridge will provide a wonderful community connection for pedestrians and cyclists,” says Mr Thackwray. 

The new bridge will link into a new a 4.5 km shared path 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 road footpaths.

“The connected network of pathways will provide people with improved access to schools, work, local community destinations and the wider transport system. This investment will help to deliver safer and healthier streets for Aucklanders, supporting the development of more liveable communities.”

Map showing the 4.5km shared path and local connections along SH1,

The 4.5km shared path and local connections along SH1, including the new bridge connecting Karaka and Papakura

Thackwray says the motorway will be closed over several nights next month to allow installation of the bridge spans, each measuring between 30m and 45m.

“There will be a lot of work going on in this area this month, so we ask motorists to not be distracted, to keep to the temporary speed limits and watch their following distances. We want to keep traffic moving and for everyone, including our work crews, to be safe.”

The bridge is one of the last pieces of significant infrastructure to be finished on the project which covers the 9km stretch of SH1 from the SH20 / SH1 connection at Manukau down to the Papakura interchange in the south.  The project includes additional lanes in both directions, an upgraded Takanini Interchange and new motorway bridges across the Pahurehure Inlet as well as landscape planting, new noise walls, the shared path and pedestrian bridge.

The project has been opening sections of the motorway as work is finished and is on target to be fully completed by the end of 2019.

For more on the project, see https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/southern-corridor-improvements(external link)

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