News, Events and Culture

Design concept revealed for He Ara Kotahi pedestrian and cycle bridge

Thursday July 14 2016

A design concept has been revealed for the new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Manawatū River.

Illustration of bridge across the river.

A view of what the new bridge could look like from upstream.

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The 190 metre long bridge is part of the He Ara Kotahi shared pathway and bridge project, which will link the city with Massey University and the Linton Military camp.

The four span bridge design concept, based on the karaka tree, was revealed at a community meeting at the Riverdale School Hall last night.

“The idea behind the concept is a tree falling across the river forming a bridge. This makes reference to the nearby karaka grove and its significance to Rangitāne, says project steering group chair Ray Swadel.

The canopy and branches of the karaka are on the northern bank off Dittmer Drive.

“The northern bank compliments the Esplanade and other nearby reserves. There are plant beds and a tall art installation representing a ‘pou’ or sentry. There is a shared space for picnics; even a site for a coffee cart,” Mr Swadel says.

He says the trunk of the karaka is the bridge itself. It features three viewing decks and posts carved inwards and outwards representing the bough, branches and – at the southern bank – the roots and base of the tree.

The bridge would be vertically curved. It would be about a metre higher in the centre when compared to the two ends.

The two piers of the bridge would feature stylised karaka leaf patterns like branches dangling in the river. On the southern bank, another pou would be installed and a plant bed.

Mr Swadel says a location for the bridge is close to being finalised.

“After looking carefully at various locations within a 400 metre zone off Dittmer Drive, our consultants Opus International believe the preferred option for the site of the bridge is near Ruha Street.

“Compared to other options they considered, a bridge at this site would have a lower profile, minimising its visual impact on local residences. There is off-street parking and scope for more on site. There is also plenty of room to plant out the northern gateway of the bridge, which would become one of its standout features.”

A section of the stopbank would need to be altered with the approval of Horizons Regional Council.

“Last night, we asked those who attended the meeting about their views of the concept. People also suggested their own ideas. We’ll consider all of them ahead of presenting the steering group’s report to Council on our preferred bridge site on 1 August.

“If approved, we’ll then need to obtain consents and finalise the design. There will be plenty more opportunities for the community to have their say on the project along the way,” Mr Swadel says.

He Ara Kotahi is a partnership between Horizons Regional Council, Massey University, the Palmerston North City Council, and the New Zealand Army at Linton, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Rangitāne.

The $10m project is part of the government’s $333m Urban Cycleways Programme. It has received $3m from this programme and $3.2 from the National Land Transport Fund.