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Green light for pedestrian bridge over SH16

October 7, 2008

Green light for pedestrian bridge over SH16

Waitakere City Council has welcomed a New Zealand Transport Agency decision to build a pedestrian bridge over the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) near Westgate shopping centre.

NZTA acting regional manager Tommy Parker made the announcement on Monday following a request from deputy mayor Penny Hulse, asking that the agency consider the building of the bridge as a matter of urgency.

“Council is delighted by this decision and thankful that NZTA has recognised the importance of this bridge in ensuring the safety of the people living in this community,” says Councillor Hulse.

“This is absolutely the right thing to do and we now look forward to working alongside NZTA on the design and funding aspects of the project.”

The request followed growing concern by the council and the local community following the 2004 death of an 11-year-old boy who was struck by a car as he ran across the motorway.

Despite that tragedy many locals, particularly children, continue to put their lives at risk by crossing the motorway instead of taking the safer, but longer route, by footpath.

In making the announcement, Mr Parker acknowledged this was a significant safety issue.

“The NZTA is currently working on the design of a bridge across the motorway. The bridge will include connections at each end, including a connection into the Westgate shopping centre.

“It is likely that funding for the bridge and connections will also come from contributions by Waitakere City Council and the NZ Retail Property Group, which owns Westgate,” Mr Parker says.

He says construction of a bridge may coincide with work already taking place at Westgate for the new SH18 Hobsonville Deviation and SH16 Brigham Creek Extension.

Massey Ward Councillor Linda Cooper has been a strong advocate for the bridge, which she says is paramount for providing a safe journey for pedestrians and cyclists between two sections of Waitakere’s largest community.

She says the NZTA decision makes good sense.

“The bridge will provide a faster, more direct, route for trips to Westgate and to the Massey Library and Leisure Centre,” she says.

"The motorway death in 2004 hit the community hard and it is something no one wants to have to go through again."

Camera footage commissioned by NZTA earlier this year showed an average of 28 people illegally crossed motorway each week day and 45 illegal crossings on a weekend day.

Community consultation conducted by council last year on preferred options to address the problem attracted more than 350 submissions, with the majority of respondents clearly showing support for a new pedestrian connection.

ENDS

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