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Bridge over troubled motorway

16 November 2004

Bridge over troubled motorway

The death of an 11-year-old boy on the North Western Motorway between the Massey West housing area and Westgate Shopping Centre highlights the quandary authorities face to deter people running across the motorway.

The boy’s death in October coincides with an increase in children running across the North Western motorway to Westgate, a disturbing trend which is being studied by the Council’s road safety team in partnership with Transit New Zealand and the Police.

“It’s a shame someone had to die before something is done. With the rapid expansion of Westgate, it’s now become critical to find a practical answer,” says Councillor Ewen Gilmour, Council appointee for Safe Waitakere Injury Prevention and also youth affairs.

Mr Gilmour will use his profile as a comedian-actor to visit schools in the Westgate area in the next couple of weeks to bring home the message that running across the motorway is a highly dangerous practice.

He is keen to promote the idea of an overbridge at the crucial spot.

“I’ve always been passionate about road safety and I strongly believe that a walkway across the motorway to Westgate would benefit the entire West Massey community. There are bridges over the motorway at Remuera and Manukau – so why not at Westgate and why not build one of Waitakere’s famous arts bridges?

“There was a sizeable community here long before Westgate ever got going,” says Mr Gilmour.

Waitakere’s Senior Road Safety Co-ordinator Kitch Cuthbert says a “campaign is needed to help change attitudes. Ewen is really keen to help here and the kids will listen to him.”

Transit New Zealand director of strategy and traffic, Terry Brown, says his team is working with the Waitakere City Council road safety co-ordinator and the police to improve safety in the area. “Transit will be improving the security fencing along the part of the motorway as soon as possible,” he says.

ENDS

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