Community's 'major concerns' about $25m replacement of Old Māngere Bridge

DENISE LEE
National MP Denise Lee says the local community has growing concerns about the Old Māngere Bridge replacement.

A $25 million bridge replacement is causing "major concerns" among locals.

The Old Māngere Bridge, which connects the Auckland suburbs of Ōnehunga and Māngere Bridge, was closed for good in late 2018 due to safety concerns. It is more than 100 years old.

Public consultation on its replacement, along with design and consent decisions, were made before its closure in 2016 – before other transport projects in the area, including light rail to the airport and a new four-lane road, were announced.

The Old Māngere Bridge was closed in November 2018.
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The Old Māngere Bridge was closed in November 2018.

Jim Jackson, the chairman of the Ōnehunga Enhancement Society, said plans for the replacement foot bridge had not taken those projects into consideration.

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"It's a mockery of a process, no one has a vision and we have major concerns about this," he said.

"The connection between Ōnehunga and Māngere needs to be seamless and the bridge should include light rail with a station."

Maungakiekie MP Denise Lee said a replacement walking bridge was needed, but she did not want it to go ahead until there was an assurance it would align with other projects in the area.

"It's in NZTA's best interest to hold off – if this project conflicts with others down the track it would waste years of work as well as $25 million," she said.

From left; Mark Wilkinson from the Onehunga Sea Scouts, Debbie Burrows from the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board, Maungakiekie MP Denise Lee and Amanda Morgans from the Ōnehunga Enhancement Society all have concerns of NZTA's handling of the replacement bridge project.
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From left; Mark Wilkinson from the Onehunga Sea Scouts, Debbie Burrows from the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board, Maungakiekie MP Denise Lee and Amanda Morgans from the Ōnehunga Enhancement Society all have concerns of NZTA's handling of the replacement bridge project.

"The community consultation since this project was restarted has been poor ... I just want [the New Zealand Transport Agency] to front up and prove it has Ōnehunga's best interests in mind."

Lee said Ōnehunga was a thriving suburb, and NZTA needed to give it the recognition it deserved.

"All of these projects are converging in Ōnehunga, and the local community deserves some assurances that NZTA have a wider plan, rather than just making it up as they go.

"I want to make sure that NZTA's shortsightedness does not result in substandard outcomes for Ōnehunga."

An NZTA spokesman said he was aware of Lee's concerns and NZTA had written to her office with an update on progress towards replacing the bridge.

"Tenders for a construction contract are being evaluated, with construction expected to start in the coming months."

NZTA said the $25 million project would ensure the walking and cycling connection was maintained for the local communities between Ōnehunga and Māngere Bridge.

Construction for the new bridge is due to start this year and be finished mid-2021.

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