Closure of Mangere Bridge forces locals to use underpass dubbed 'muggers alley'

The closure of Auckland's historical Mangere Bridge has sparked safety concerns for the hundreds of adults and school children who use it every day.

They'll now be forced to take a little-used underpass that locals colloquially call "muggers alley".

The bridge is more than 100 years old but it's still a vital artery in the city's transport network.

It's got to be one of the busiest cycleways around the city," said one local man. 

The New Zealand Transport Agency has just announced it's closing the historic bridge for good this weekend for safety reasons.

That's forcing pedestrians and cyclists to use an alternative route that's seldom used now due to it's own safety issues - the underpass on the nearby motorway bridge.

The local man said the main concern about the underpass is security.

A woman in the area said of the underpass: "It's far too long. You're on your own, you never know who you're going to meet and I just don't feel it's safe."

Locals have told 1 NEWS that up until a couple of months ago the walls of the underpass were covered in graffiti and gang tags and it was littered with rubbish and broken glass. There are still signs of graffiti on the pavements.

Groups of youths drinking in the underpass area can be intimidating, a local resident said.

NZTA is tackling safety concerns. As well as having painted the underpass, NZTA has built a new guard rail, put in lights and installed CCTV, and will employ security guards 24/7.

One of two women who were running the route for the first time today said it the underpass, "looks quite bright and looks ok".

A group of schoolboys were a little unsure about the new option.

"Yeah, they've put in security cameras we've been told so should be pretty safe," one said.

Construction on a new bridge catering for walkers, cyclists and fishers will start next year. 

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    They’ll now be forced to take a little-used underpass that locals call “mugger’s alley”. Source: 1 NEWS

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