New Pedestrian Footbridge for Te Kuiti
4 Jun 2019
Waitomo District Council’s (WDC) $1.35 million project to replace the aging pedestrian footbridge across the railway in Te Kuiti will now go ahead thanks to the confirmation of funding support from the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).
The current footbridge, built in 1988, provides a crossing for pedestrians over five sets of railway tracks, two of which are still active.
A 2017 survey identified that the footbridge is used by around 200 pedestrians per day during daylight hours, with more during weekends and evenings.
WDC undertook an engineering investigation which confirmed that the footbridge had reached the end of its useful life and required extensive safety and renewal work. Several alternative crossing options were considered as part of the investigation, including maintaining the current structure, construction of an underpass, and establishing a new level crossing – this latter option was not acceptable to KiwiRail given the significant risk to users.
The preferred option is a new footbridge structure and ramps to be constructed at the same location - approximately halfway between the two nearest crossing points at Ward Street and Awakino Road (SH3).
Ross I'Anson Acting Director of NZTA Regional Relationships says "We are pleased to be able to work with the Waitomo District Council to replace the aging pedestrian footbridge for the community of Te Kuiti".
Waitomo District Mayor Brian Hanna says that ensuring a pedestrian link is maintained between the western residential area and Te Kuiti’s town centre is vital.
“To be able to achieve that with NZTA project funding of 73% of the total cost is a real win for WDC and the community, and a credit to the way our staff has worked alongside NZTA to achieve this result. It means that a brand new, purpose-built footbridge can be constructed for less than what WDC was originally planning to spend on just maintenance of the existing structure”.
“As part of the development of the Te Kuiti Town Concept Plan, we asked the community about pedestrian access across the rail corridor. There was a strong focus on making the railway crossing safer for pedestrians, and maintaining that as a key link to the CBD.” Says Mayor Hanna.
Construction of the new pedestrian footbridge is scheduled to start in the 2019/20 financial year. It will be built to modern engineering design standards including earthquake protection, safety barriers, wheelchair and mobility scooter access gradients, and geometry.