Work will start this month on the long-awaited and much-delayed Matakana pedestrian cycle bridge on Leigh Road.
Wharehine have been awarded the $480,000 job, which will involve installing a timber bridge, cantilevered off the existing road bridge, as well as concrete pathway approaches on either side.
Bridge specialists Edifice Contracts will build the bridge off-site. It will be 2.5 metres wide and about 52 metres long.
The bridge will finally link the village with the cycleway connection to Omaha and Point Wells, which has largely been built by volunteers from the Matakana Community Group. It will also be an important section of the planned Matakana Coast Trail.
Trail Trust chair Allison Roe welcomed the start of work on the bridge.
“The Matakana cycleway is part of a much wider plan, which involves establishing a 100km-plus pathway linking Pakiri and Puhoi,” she says.
The trust hopes to umbrella the overall project by working collaboratively with a number of smaller groups that are already involved in pathway projects.
Auckland Transport says the biggest challenge in the bridge project will be transporting, lifting, and installing the bridge deck onto the constructed piles and steel support structure within very tight dimensional tolerances. The deck will be installed in two sections that will then be stitched together once in place.
Wharehine managing director Rob Gibson says the work will require power shutdowns and he’d like to see the power lines put underground as part of the project.
The installation of a bridge across the river was first attempted in 2012, when the Matakana Community Group bought a second-hand bridge from Auckland, which it had planned to install for a fraction of the current price. But Auckland Transport vetoed the proposal on the grounds that it could not be guaranteed to last for 50 years.
The new bridge is expected to open in late August.