NZTA starts new round of consultation for planned walking and cycle way over Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, which could cost up to $140 million

NZTA starts new round of consultation for planned walking and cycle way over Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, which could cost up to $140 million
An artist's impression of the proposed Auckland Harbour Bridge shared walking and cycle way.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has launched a new round of public consultation for a proposed walking and cycle way over Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, which is expected to cost up to $140 million.

In May this year a spokesperson for the NZTA said a business case for the project was expected to be completed later this year and construction was then scheduled to start in 2020. The five-metre-wide path is expected to be attached to the southbound side of the bridge and will directly link Westhaven to Northcote Point and connect with the planned SeaPath shared path to Takapuna.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford committed $67 million from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) towards building a walkway and cycleway over the bridge as part of a larger $390 million walking and cycling investment package. But the exact cost of the project hadn’t been established at the time.

But a spokesman for the agency says it’s still on track and it is hoping to see work to start some time next year.

“There is $36 million in the current National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) 2018-21 for the Auckland Harbour Bridge shared walking and cycling path. In the next NLTP period, more allowance will have to be made for the project than was originally planned.

“The total expected cost is $100-$140 million, but we will have more certainty on the cost of construction once the business case is completed later this year. Construction could start as early as 2020 and take two and a half years.”

The NZTA is seeking more feedback from the public as it develops the design of the Auckland Harbour Bridge shared path for walking and cycling. It says it would like to hear from people about how they would like the path to connect or “land” at Westhaven and Northcote Point.

A statement says its working on a detailed business case to examine the path in more detail and it’s expected to go to the NZTA board for approval later this year.

“In July, we held two drop-in evening events where we discussed the high-level design with stakeholders, local residents and other members of the public. We also received some useful feedback about the SeaPath project,” NZTA senior manager for project delivery Andrew Thackwray says.

“We know there is significant public support for us to get on and build the shared path as quickly as possible and we are grateful for the feedback that we’ve had so far. We have heard that people generally like the five-metre width of the path and feel that it provides safe connections for users. We now want to share our work so far and get feedback on where the path will land and connect to the local walking and cycling networks in Westhaven and Northcote Point.”

It says it is planning to use the consents already granted to the SkyPath Trust which had planned to build a similar pathway attached to the Harbour Bridge. The trust had campaigned over a number of years for the construction of a joint walkway and cycleway over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and had even gained resource consent to proceed with the project. It had expected to be involved in the design of the project, but has since been side-lined by the NZTA which has now taken on the lead role.

The two-week public consultation period will run from 21 August 21 to September 4 and will include a series of drop in sessions. Members of the public can also make online submissions.

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Much as I'd enjoy walking over the harbour bridge from time to time, I'm thinking: $140 million would buy every kid in Auckland a free school lunch every day for how many years?

Yeah but even if they don't spend the $140 million on it, the money will not get spent on school lunches will it ? it will just get wasted on something like more working groups and result in nothing physical coming out of it.

Just get on with it. This has been WIP for over 20 years

Exactly! Consultation after consultation.

NZTA are nigh on dysfunctional, esp when it comes to 'non-car' projects, they must be close to being disbanded just so the old dinosaurs can be turfed out and some forward thinkers bought in to come in and get shit done.

While the govt never stops talking about increasing productivity, it spends hugely on counter productive things.

Name me a cheaper way to cut down traffic over the bridge, especially at peak rush hour.

Well.... Funny you should mention that...

The cheapest way would be to close a lane and convert it to shared bike/walking path.

Oh how the half a dozen Northcote residents that are against the bike path would howl in protest if that happened.

All of a sudden $140M seems cheap hey...

I'm not saying it's a bad idea but a trial with freebuses to carry bikes over the existing bridge would be a suggestion to gauge the demand.

Shouldn't be difficult ~ one or two pick up points on the North Shore, drop off just over the bridge. Circle and return Mon - Friday for a month or two. See how many use it.

Honestly, this is astonishing!

'This time we’d like to hear feedback more specifically about how the shared path will connect or “land” at Westhaven and Northcote Point.'

Surely a bunch of traffic engineers can work out what is the best way to make a connection, and if they can't, sack'em and find some that can, then tell them to get into it.

I wonder if the cost of all this consultation rubbish being factored in to the $140M? If it is that's the reason it's costing so much, and if it's not the price will probably be a good chunk of millions higher.

The projected usage stats as the divisor, $140m as the numerator. It won't be a small result. And if our local Christchurch cycleways are anything to go by, there's many more recreational (non-tradeable-sector) users across the network, than it has to be regarded as mostly a consumption, and discretionary at that.

I honestly thought that this had already passed the planning stage and was due to be built. Should have known better, all the red tape in this country makes getting on with anything a nightmare. Just get on with it and build it.

If there is a cost to using it I will go over once. Whereas when I go to Sydney I walk across (at deck level) every time I go there.

140million???!! Oh. My. God. $140k per meter is off-the-scale nuts. Needs to be driven by business case not bike zealots and political posturing. Far cheaper to provide a permanent 24-hour a day free bus service between each end to ferry pedestrians and bikes (can be made autonomous in a few years). Or a small automated monorail system to carry people and bikes. Enough is enough, end this idiocy now. P.S if this was being done in China it would cost about $1-5million, keep it simple, single file each way, force people to walk bikes through use of large bumper bars and fully enclosed and it would be massively cheaper.

Is it really that hard?

Figure out what the second harbour crossing is going to be, and get on with building it. When the second crossing is opened, convert one of the clipons (I think the northbound one has a more limited life?) to foot/cycle traffic, totally isolating it from road traffic on the other open traffic lanes.

Nailed it.