A few weeks back, guest blogger Robert reported on his observations near the Wigram-Magdala overbridge under construction. The official completion date was given as October. So it was a pleasant surprise to all to find that the new overbridge from Magdala Place (and Birmingham/Annex) to Wigram Rd opened this weekend. While that will no doubt please many motorists to have this additional network link, it’s arguably even better news for those who cycle in the area.
Long-time blog readers (or at least, locals familiar with the area) will know that this section has been a notable gap in the provision of a cycleway out west ever since the Southern Motorway came along in 2013 and filled in the rest. The completion of the new link allows people to ride off-road all the way from Barrington St (and eventually town) past Middleton, Sockburn, Wigram, and out towards Westlake and Halswell. That’s over 7km off-road, for those of you playing at home…
Let’s start at the western end where the route joins the existing motorway pathway near the A&P Showgrounds entrance. Heading along Wigram Rd, there is now a lovely 4m-wide shared pathway running alongside. For those who prefer to stay on the road, the once-troublesome carriageway now has marked cycle lanes.
One thing that made me immensely pleased was the introduction of regular directional arrows to encourage all path users to keep left. This simple trick has the potential to make things a lot smoother when people have to share pathways – let’s hope we see more of them around the city.
Approaching the Treffers Rd intersection prior to the overbridge and a spur path heads off to the northern side to connect with the pathway along Curletts Rd. It’s a bit convoluted, requiring people to cross two roads to get there. This seems to me a slightly wasted opportunity given that there’s an overbridge right in front of them – why didn’t they just run the path along the south side and under the bridge abutment?
Onto the bridge itself, where the shared pathway narrows to about 3m wide (with the cycle lanes still available too). The new chip-seal is in rapid need of a sweep, as all the loose chip is ending up in the cycle lane and pathway (could be handy if we have an icy morning I suppose…).
Over to the other side of Curletts Rd and the route runs alongside the alignment of Magdala Place to a new signalised intersection with Annex Rd and Birmingham Drive (the shared pathway remains at 3m wide).
There are quite a lot of different desire lines here, for motorists and cyclists, so there are a variety of lanes and signal phases to cater for them all. That includes a few advanced stop boxes and hook turn boxes for cycling.
Interestingly, despite all the money spent on this project ($30 million apparently), someone forgot to think about connecting the new pathway with the existing pathways and underpass down the southern leg of Annex Rd. So, until they get around to filling in this short (150m) link, you’ll have to put up with the (fortunately quiet) road.
Here are a few more pics for you:
Minor quibbles aside, overall this is a fantastic addition to our cycling network. And as more people start living out towards Wigram, Halswell and beyond (more on that in a future post…) this will prove to be a handy link into town.
Have you tried out the new Wigram-Magdala overbridge and pathway? What do you think?