Bridge gets revamp
Some eye-catching new infrastructure will soon be visible in Parnell.
Plans are afoot to rebuild Point Resolution bridge and the Parnell Baths walkway could get a facelift too if the Waitemata Local Board has its way.
Parnell Community Committee chairman Roger Cole-Baker says the design is a good one.
"We were concerned that the new bridge should be something that Aucklanders can be proud of and make a statement. Taurarua headland is very fragile so building on it should be done with extreme care. If the council can ensure the build will maintain the long-term conservation of the headland, the committee is all for it," Mr Cole-Baker says.
Ngati Whatua heritage and resource manager Malcolm Paterson shares the sentiment.
"It's a site of quite some significance to us and has a great korero, history, to go with it. It's a former defended pa, which is why it later became a European fort.
"In a way we'd prefer the headland did not suffer any more modification because every new cut into the cliff poses some risk to those heritage elements.
"Having said that, council and the local board engaged genuinely with us early on in the project's development."
Different options for where to rebuild were explored but the decision was made to keep to the original bridge site because of cost and engineering issues.
"We were prepared to compromise and the solution that was reached was acceptable to us," Mr Paterson says.
A structural inspection in February 2012 recommended urgent repairs and the replacement of the bridge within the year.
The bridge was closed to the public for three days in early March while corrosion of the steelwork in the spans of the old section was fixed.
Waitemata Local Board supported a recommendation for funding and a $3,577,884 budget was approved. This figure is subject to change as the project is in the process of being tendered.
The decision was made to erect a modern bridge after consultation with community groups, Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers says.
The new bridge will sit one metre higher than the existing bridge due to KiwiRail's requirements for electrification.
Its structural elements will be lifted over the Christmas period while the railway line is closed to the public.
The alteration means the new bridge will not connect directly to the existing Parnell Baths boardwalk and steps leading up to Point Resolution.
The Local Board would prefer work on the Point Resolution to Parnell Baths walkway took place at the same time rather than building a temporary structure to join the two walkways. This would reduce costs and the overall closure period for the route.
"We wanted to take the opportunity to have an integrated look and feel to the bridge on a single design basis," Mr Chambers says.
The impact on users of Parnell Baths is a key consideration.
"Ideally work wouldn't be taking place over summer when the baths are open but we've got no choice as to when electrification occurs," he says.
Parnell Baths Support Group chairwoman Sue Monk says users appreciate that Waitemata Local Board wants to replace the bridge and the walkway at the same time.
But the timing will make things difficult.
"We are sorry that it hasn't been undertaken over the winter period. If all this construction is done over summer, access will be compromised and people will only be able to get to the baths from Judges Bay," she said.
"People will have to be considerate because access really will bottleneck, but we just accept that that's the way it's being done."
Funding for the Parnell Baths walkway is not in the current annual plan.
The estimated cost is $750,000 and this will be funded from the reprioritisation of projects within the local board budget.
Completion of a new Point Resolution bridge is expected by early 2013. The Point Resolution renewal forms part of Waitemata Local Board's plan to build a coastal walkway from Parnell to Meola Reef.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Have the new speed limit rules made you change your driving habits?