Work to repair the Matapihi Rail Bridge is due to start today.
Numerous deaths and injuries to people walking on the train tracks led to the walkway being added to the 88-year-old bridge during the 1950s.
The bridge, stretching between the Matapihi Peninsula and The Strand in Tauranga is now used by up to 200 people a day, most of them Matapihi residents.
The repairs, to make the bridge wider and safer, are due to be completed by the end of January and until then Tauranga City Council will provide a free minibus service for Matapihi residents travelling between Matapihi and Bayfair.
The work involves replacing the timber decking, beams and struts as well as the steel supports.
The ramps at each end of the bridge will also be upgraded and the hand rails replaced with slightly higher ones to meet current safety standards.
Contractors Fulton Hogan will complete most of the work from a special platform that will hang under the bridge.
A structural investigation of the walkway in March indicated significant rotting and rusting to the wooden beams and steel supports under the walkway.