Mangere Bridge may get a revamp
The old low-lying Mangere Bridge has weathered almost a century of use and has been hit by at least five ships over the years.
Now plans for a longawaited freshen-up are being discussed.
The bridge, which closed to vehicles in the 1970s, serves as a popular fishing spot and links Onehunga with Manukau.
Onehunga Enhancement Society chairman Jim Jackson says there is an agreement between the two communities that there needs to be an opening up of the harbour. This could be in the form of a new bridge or restoration of the existing one.
“The bridge should stay in its present alignment.”
He says options for the bridge could include raised sections of the bridge or a lifting section to allow larger boats through. That would also open up access to the all-tide ramp.
Mr Jackson spoke recently to the Maungakiekie Community Board about the bridge and says any replacement would have to be wide enough for pedestrians and fishers.
He says a linear structure that is well-lit is the preferable option. It has also been suggested that a temporary crossing built during construction for the duplicate Mangere bridge could be- come a permanent feature. But despite calls from the community, New Zealand Transport Agency state highways manager Tommy Parker says there are no immediate plans to replace or alter the bridge.
“NZTA is committed to retaining the bridge for use as a walking and cycling connection and for recreation,” he says.
“We acknowledge that at some stage replacement or major strengthening work will need to be undertaken but there is no certainty as to when this will occur.”
He says there is a broad cost estimate for the work which will need to be refined through a detailed design process.
Mr Parker says NZTA is open to discussion about possible options.
In October 2005 a cargo ship, the Spirit of Resolution, collided with the bridge be- cause of strong winds and a flooding tide. Damage to the wharf and piling was estimated at $670,000.
Maritime New Zealand’s website says that was the fourth incident since 1998.
The organisation’s manager of recreational boating Jim Lott says skippers of a vessel are expected to stay alert behind the wheel.
“Given that the old Mangere Bridge is a large fixed structure that has been there for many years and is a known potential boating hazard, there should be no excuse for vessel skippers to run into it.”
Meanwhile, Manukau Cruising Club president Ron Williams says restoration of the old bridge would be far too expensive because the underside is rusting.
“Onehunga has been cut off for far too long. It’s got to be a nicely designed multipurpose bridge.”
Historic span: Manukau Cruising Club president Ron Williams remembers an incident in 2005 when a container boat hit the bridge.