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Ask Phoebe: Making it safe to go back in the Manukau Harbour

By Phoebe Falconer

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Motorway tunnel spoil being used to restore Onehunga Bay.

Onehunga Bay Project.
Onehunga Bay Project.

An enormous amount of work is going on at the foreshore near Onehunga, and I have read little about it. Can you tell us what the project is, the cost, who is paying, and when it will be finished?

Pat Brownlie, Auckland.

The foreshore adjacent to Orpheus Drive is being restored to bring back a natural coast edge. The work was considered necessary to restore the natural character of Onehunga Bay, which was bisected when State Highway 20 was built in the 1970s. There will be new headlands, with nine beaches, three of them sandy ones suitable for swimming.

The project site extends across the coastal marine area from Seacliffe Rd to the west, across to the Manukau Cruising Club to the east, and includes works in Onehunga Bay Reserve and lagoon to the north of SH20.

Within the 6.8ha of new parkland will be open spaces, a boat ramp and picnic areas. A pedestrian and cycle bridge will connect the new land to Onehunga Lagoon.

The concrete bridge abutments can already be seen on either side of SH20.

The $28 million project, with input from iwi and the community, is being funded by the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board via Auckland Council ($10 million) and the Transport Agency ($18 million).

Progress has been considerably advanced with fill from the $1.4 billion Waterview motorway project. About 80 per cent of the required fill for the headlands has already been delivered to the site at Onehunga. The availability of clean fill had been an issue, but this was alleviated by about 55,000cu m of material from the Alan Wood Reserve in Owairaka, where the southern approach trench for the Waterview tunnel has been excavated.

The final section of the sea bund at the Hillsborough Rd end is complete, so the project is now fully enclosed and divided from Manukau Harbour.

The foreshore development will end up with about 368,000cu m of fill behind the bunds of soft rock.

Over the next couple of months there will be further progress on the beaches and headlands, with more general fill placement and the bridge piers starting to rise.

The completion date for the project is April 2015.

Because of the work taking place and the volume of construction traffic, Orpheus Drive has been closed to private vehicles from October 14.

This safety measure will remain in place until bulk earthworks for the project are complete in November next year.

Orpheus Drive remains open to pedestrians and cyclists, with a shared-use path providing access between the Manukau Cruising Club and Seacliffe Rd.

Parents may continue to drop off and collect their children from school at the southern end of the motorway footbridge.

(Sources: Herald, www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz)

* Many thanks to all those readers who emailed names for the little beach between Campbells Bay and Castor Bay. It seems to be known locally as Back Beach.

- NZ Herald

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