Today saw a very exciting event for me personally, and for the other 30,000 commuters that use this bridge every day. It’s not a very long bridge, it’s not even a very attractive one, but it’s been a long wait for it to finally open. I’ve had a front row seat to its development and have also had to suffer through the noise, vibrations and general inconvenience of its build. But now it’s open, finally. The project is not quite finished yet though, they still have to finish off the approaches to the bridge with major changes happening on Main Road and St Andrews Hill. There will be a pedestrian traffic light on Main Road for access to the Coastal Pathway and from the plan I’ve read online the cycle path over the bridge will join up with the Tow Path (not sure if this means the Tow Path will be redeveloped).
There’s been a lot of comment about the length of time this bridge took to build. However, if you consider what’s happened since they first started to plan for the strengthening of the bridge it becomes apparent this was not simply building a bridge. Initially, they were only strengthening the existing bridge, but then we had our earthquake and it got severely damaged. So they had to go back to the drawing board with the plans and come up with an engineering solution. Then they had to build two temporary bridges either side of the existing damaged bridge. And then they had to demolish the existing bridge bit by bit. And of course then they had to build a brand new bridge while we were still getting earthquakes.
So it’s going to be wonderful to have this bridge open as it is now, but even better once all of the new roading and landscaping is completed.