Crumbling into the sea
CHUNKS of concrete falling off the old Mangere Bridge have prompted calls for it to be knocked down and replaced.
Signs warn boaties to be careful of falling debris.
Manukau Cruising Club commodore Ron Williams says it’s time to look at building a replacement.
“If you go underneath you can see where all the reinforcing steel has started to rust and chunks of concrete are falling off.”
A new bridge could also give better access to the upper Manukau Harbour, now limited by the low clearance under the old bridge, he says.
But some kind of walking and cycle link needs to be retained.
“If they took it down they would have to replace it with some other form of access for the community.”
Mangere Bridge Ratepayers Association chairman Roger Baldwin supports replacing the bridge as well.
“I think the deterioration is so great now it’s beyond redemption,” he says.
“Even the vandals are kicking bits off it at low tide.
“It should be demolished and replaced with a bridge with better access to the upper harbour.”
Transit northern’s operations manager Joseph Flanagan says the bridge is undergoing structural strengthening, likely to take a couple of months.
He says there are no safety concerns, despite pieces of concrete falling from the underside of the bridge.
“No concrete falling off is of a structural nature, it’s just the age of the bridge.”
He says the long-term plan is still being decided, but a decision will need to be made soon.
The bridge can be maintained for some time still, but will need increasing levels of repair and maintenance work.
“We expect there will be a bridge there and we expect the bridge will look similar to the existing bridge, but how we do that has not been decided,” says Mr Flanagan.
Transit originally planned to pull down the bridge and replace it with a smaller footbridge as part of the Manukau Harbour Crossing project to build a duplicate road bridge.
But plans were withdrawn in 2006 because of the 1914 structure’s heritage value.
Historic Places Trust architecture adviser Robin Byron says the trust would like to see elements of the old bridge included in any upgrade or replacement.
“Fundamentally, the bridge probably needs substantial replacement but it would be very nice to retain some of the features of the original bridge.
“If they were going to do that, we would want to be involved.”
She says although the bridge is not heritage protected, it is recognised as a historical feature of the area.
Repairs needed: Onehunga fisherman Sabn Boskvic says the deteriorating Mangere Bridge is the best place to fish.