Man­gere Bridge may get a re­vamp

Central Leader - - News - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

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.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

His­toric span: Manukau Cruis­ing Club pres­i­dent Ron Wil­liams re­mem­bers an in­ci­dent in 2005 when a con­tainer boat hit the bridge.

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