The official start of construction has been marked today for a new walking and cycling route crossing the Northern Motorway and reconnecting Albany and the East Coast Bays.
The Spencer Road Bridge, or Tirohanga Whānui, which means panoramic view, is a joint project between the NZ Transport Agency and Watercare, will span the motorway at Albany, crossing from Spender Road in Pinehill to the reserve next to Watercare’s Albany Reservoir, off Corinthian Drive.
Construction of the new $6 million bridge and paths at either end is beginning this month and will be completed in stages over the next 18 months.
“This bridge will provide communities with an easy crossing point to and from Albany’s workplaces, shops, schools and Massey University, and will give people in the area great choices about how they move around,” says Chris Hunt, the Transport Agency’s Senior Manager, Project Delivery.
“The Transport Agency and Watercare have worked closely with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to make sure the bridge connects well to existing walking and cycling paths in the area and will eventually link to the Shared Use Path being built as part of the Northern Corridor Improvements project.”
“The location is one of the highest points in the area and so it offers great views in all directions, including out to Rangitoto Island. The bridge also has a striking design which incorporates the areas early environmental and cultural history.”
The new bridge will connect the two sides of Spencer Road, which was originally a natural path used by iwi to travel between the east and west across the areas ridges, valleys and creeks.
“Iwi artist Graham Tipene has recreated these themes of valleys, creeks and the natural weaving resources of the area into the bridge’s design. The main body of the bridge will be a traditional deep kouka red.”
The bridge is being built by the same team as the Transport Agency’s Northern Corridor Improvements project, and many of the design elements will be incorporated into both projects.
As well as creating the new off-road connection the project is also working in partnership with Watercare to bring a new watermain pipe across State Highway 1 in a clever and cost efficient way.
The Watermain will be suspended under the deck of the project and is part of Watercare’s programme of work to help address the area’s growing population.
Construction on the Transport Agency’s Northern Corridor Improvements project, is due to get underway next year, pending final approvals. It will add capacity to State Highway 1, extend the Northern Busway to Albany and build a 5km shared path for walking and cycling.