A new shared bridge for cyclists and pedestrians above the Northern Motorway — complete with a secret feature — opens in Albany today.

The Tirohanga Whānui Bridge — which means "Panoramic View" — provides a link for communities living in East Coast Bays and Albany. The bright red bridge is the first milestone of the Northern Corridor Improvements project — a $700 million project aimed at delivering improved transport infrastructure for freight, cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

The $10m Tirohanga Whānui Bridge provides a pedestrian link between East Coast Bays and Albany on the North Shore. Photo / Dean Purcell
The $10m Tirohanga Whānui Bridge provides a pedestrian link between East Coast Bays and Albany on the North Shore. Photo / Dean Purcell

The bridge is unusual in that a main water pipe is installed directly underneath the bridge to help cater to the growing needs of people in the area.

The pipe would normally have run under the road — across the motorway — and would have created major disruption, a New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman said.

The $10m Tirohanga Whānui Bridge provides a pedestrian link between East Coast Bays and Albany on the North Shore. Photo / Dean Purcell
The $10m Tirohanga Whānui Bridge provides a pedestrian link between East Coast Bays and Albany on the North Shore. Photo / Dean Purcell

Engineers instead came up with the idea of running Watercare's pipe beneath a bridge that could be used by pedestrians and cyclists alike.

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Tirohanga Whānui Bridge joins a number of fairly new motorway shared path bridges for pedestrians and cyclists around Auckland — including that seen in Mt Roskill, after the Waterview Tunnel, and another in Māngere.