Idea bridges a gap
A recycled bridge will give pedestrians and cyclists safe access to Kumeu.
Bob Howard is working on the project across the Kumeu River.The footbridge will get users into the township without having to walk on or cross the busy Highway 16.
Mr Howard's real estate company, Harcourts Kumeu, purchased the 37 metre long arch that was originally used as a footbridge across the southern motorway from Dilworth College to Mt Hobson.
Harcourts underwrote the $7500 cost plus extra for transport to haul the 20 tonne steel monster on to its resting place on the old Ministry of Works site behind the Kumeu Arts Centre.
The shift involved early morning navigation of four trucks on and off the site.
"It's a community venture to secure the bridge," Mr Howard says. "The community has wanted a footbridge ever since I've lived in the area for 26 years."
Geotec reports were done on both sides of the river in previous years but Auckland Transport hasn't had funds to afford the footbridge.
Mr Howard is the Rodney Local Board chairman and says Auckland Council couldn't get approval in such a short time frame so it had to be a private venture.
"We will endeavour to have it set up before next winter."
Only half of the southern motorway bridge, which was destined for scrap metal, is needed in Kumeu. It will need to be shortened to be fit for use and placed between the entry bridge and the Telecom pipe.
An adjoining footpath will also need to be laid from Riverhead Rd to Weza Lane.
The other half will go to Matakana to be used as a bridge in the town centre, along with the old Parnell swimming baths crossing bought by the community after spotting it on Trade Me.
"The bridge is in such good condition - structurally strong.
"It just needs a repaint," Mr Howard says.
"It would have been just a crying shame, not to mention a waste of money to have lost it to scrap metal."
Auckland councillor Penny Webster backs the idea, after referring Matakana representatives to Mr Howard.
"I'm actually delighted that these bridges have been bought.
"It is a good solution to a problem that has worried us for a long time."
Mrs Webster hopes to smooth the path forward.