More than $2million has been committed to build a pedestrian bridge at Jutland Road in Belmont in Pukekohe to keep schoolchildren safe.
Franklin Local Board chair Andy Baker says the board has prioritised the bridge because the area is too dangerous for pedestrians, many of them children on their way to and from school in the rapidly growing suburb.
The money comes from the board’s Transport Capital Fund and Baker says while it is a large sum, the board feels it has to act.
“We can’t sit back and keep deferring things or hoping funding will materialise from somewhere else.
“The current crossing point is part of a stormwater catchment and is designed to flood in heavy rain. It is untenable to knowingly ignore that risk, particularly to those kids who use it daily and may not recognise when it should not be used.”
The board has also asked Auckland Transport to appoint an engineer to progress the project quickly to address both the risk to pedestrians and to prevent cost increases in the current economic climate.
The level of investment means Beachlands kerb and channel improvements, needed to deliver pedestrian safety benefits in response to growth in the area, miss out on funding.
“We have asked AT to investigate opportunities to complete work there using regional budgets given that the design is complete, and the project is shovel-ready,” Baker says.”
“Unfortunately, we had to choose what project to prioritise and the safety of people in Belmont, and the repeated calls from that community, won enough support around the table”.
The board also committed $194,000 to continue its work under the Pukekohe Path Plan, asking AT to work with project leaders to determine the best use of funding with the project now in the detailed scoping phase.
It also asked AT consider the Waiau Pa to Clarks Beach path as part of its climate response package to help locals change their behaviour, because the path would create an option for children from the rapidly growing Clark’s Beach special housing area to safely access their school by foot and bike.
Local Board Transport Capital Funds allow boards to deliver transport infrastructure projects that are a local priority, but which may not be considered a priority within AT’s work programme.