Bridge will give kids safe way to school

Publish Date : 16 Apr 2024
Bridge For School

Children attending Tamaoho School and early childhood education sites nearby will have a safer walk when Auckland Transport completes a new footbridge across the Whangapouri Creek.

The bridge will extend the existing Jutland Road footpath about 50 metres to Belmont Road, creating a 3.5-metre-wide shared path for people walking, or riding their bikes and scooters.

The new footbridge will be raised 3.7 meters above the creek to connect neighbourhoods and provide access not only to kura, but also to other community facilities.

The Franklin Local Board recognised the need to build a safe and better access route for schoolchildren, families and the growing community, supporting the footbridge with funding from its Local Board Transport Capital Funds.

Board chair Angela Fulljames says building is scheduled for May–June and information has been circulated to communities in the area.

“It is a big financial commitment for us, and one that has meant other transport-related projects have had to be put on hold or have had less funding made available to them.

“But ignoring the risks to children, who we know were taking all kinds of potentially dangerous shortcuts near the creek, was not an option. We make no apology for prioritising the safety of our people, particularly young ones who may not understand the dangers they are exposing themselves to.”

Franklin Ward Councillor Andy Baker was chair of the board when it decided to fund the bridge and has welcomed the news construction is set to start.

“It will provide a shorter, better and safer access for children, residents and people just wanting to stroll about and enjoy their own neighbourhood.

“The decision to commit more than $2million to build the bridge was not without its critics, but it was made because the advice was that the area was too dangerous for pedestrians, especially children.”

The money comes from the board’s Transport Capital Fund and Baker says while it is a large sum, the board always felt it had to act.

“How could we have sat back and kept deferring things, or hoping funding would materialise from somewhere else.

“The crossing point the kids use now is part of a stormwater catchment and is designed to flood in heavy rain. It is untenable to ignore that risk.”

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