With Otamatea Ward Councillor Jonathan Larsen
Good news on shared path
The initial stage of the shared path (walking/cycling) in Insley and Moir Streets was tendered last month (as well as the Insley/Moir Streets intersection upgrade). The shared path will then be progressively extended north. I don’t have exact timings on this yet, but will continue to push to have the dangerous section running past Mangawhai Activity Zone completed as soon as possible.
Insley Street bridge update
The contract for the structural repairs to the bridge is out for tender and closes on March 15. The physical works are planned to be completed by the end of June, and are expected to be able to be undertaken with the bridge in its current single lane configuration. This means that there should not be any need to divert traffic for extended periods, however there may be some short-term closures.
I wrote earlier of the proposal to have a pedestrian bridge added to the Insley Street bridge. There has been a lot of positive feedback from the community in support of this. I have investigated this issue to find a way to make it happen and my initial findings are summarised as follows. Council advises that the footbridge can’t be built this financial year because:
1. The original idea was to have a ‘clip-on’ to the existing bridge but the bridge is not structurally strong enough to support it;
2. There is no funding in place as part of the repair works;
3. The footbridge will be a stand-alone structure and built alongside the road;
4. Repairs to the Insley Street bridge are the priority as it is not safe to use at full load if two lanes are open;
5. The footbridge was not part of the Long Term Plan (LTP) or Regional Land Transport Programme (RLTP) so was not part of Council’s application for increased subsidy for safety works.
All projects require a New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) approved business case to demonstrate need and alignment with the National Policy Statement on Transport, and need to be included in the RLTP before they can proceed if they are to receive a subsidy from NZTA.
Furthermore, the Mangawhai Community Plan (MCP) does actually include a pedestrian bridge for Insley Street, but it is allocated to priority 4 which is not due to be implemented until after 2028. In short there are multiple layers of bureaucracy to work through.
Obviously a ten year timeframe is totally unacceptable to the community. So how can we make it happen much sooner?
1. The bridge could be reprioritised in the MCP so that it happens much sooner, for example before the construction of some of the slow street infrastructure.
2. A special business case could be prepared to seek NZTA funding.
I will be meeting with Council’s CEO to discuss how to progress these matters, including what community consultation would be required to move the footbridge up the priority list. I’ll keep you informed of progress.
In the meantime, if you’d like to have a closer look at the MCP project priorities, search for Mangawhai Community Plan on the KDC website kaipara.govt.nz or ask for a copy at the KDC office.
If you have any community projects or issues that you would like assistance with, I can be contacted on 021 185 8389 or Cr.Larsen@kaipara.govt.nz. Check out my ‘The WorkBoot Councillor’ Facebook page for regular updates.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not represent the consensus position of Council.