The NZ Transport Agency has released plans for its preferred option for a shared path over the Auckland Harbour Bridge which will transform walking and cycling not only across the harbour, but throughout Auckland.
The transport agency says its preferred design for the Auckland Harbour Bridge Shared Path will provide a five-metre-wide path flanking the bridge’s southbound traffic side, directly linking Westhaven to Northcote Point and connecting with the future SeaPath route.
Shared path will provide more active transport choices
The transport agency’s General Manager System Design and Delivery, Brett Gliddon, says he’s delighted to be able to give more detailed information and certainty about the walking and cycling path, which will meet the government’s priority to create more active transport choices for Aucklanders.
“We know Aucklanders want to cross the harbour on foot and by bike as quickly as possible and the transport agency has been working hard to develop a design that meets the future demands of all bridge users, is affordable and preserves the structural integrity of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.”
Safe and enjoyable connection
Gliddon says since last year a range of options have been investigated as part of the necessary business case process. A multi-criteria analysis has identified a preferred option which comprises a 5m-wide-path to allow for separation between people on foot and on bikes, making it safer and more enjoyable for all users.
“We’re confident this will deliver the safest, most enduring solution not only for people now but also for future generations, and that it will become much more than just a transport connection,” he says.
“The transport agency acknowledges the tireless work and dedication of those who have campaigned for a walking and cycling connection across the bridge, in particular the SkyPath Trust. While recognising their vision and legacy the transport agency is also mindful of its role to ensure that we deliver the best outcomes and value for money for all New Zealanders.
“We are committed to transforming walking and cycling in Auckland and this design offers the most far reaching and enduring benefits.”
Benefits of the preferred option include:
- the path will be attached to the bridge piers rather than the clip-on, so there will be no load restrictions, meaning there will not be restrictions on the number of people able to access the path at one time, and it is designed to cater for future demands
- the path will be safer than alternatives, because there is greater room for different active modes to share the space, as well as the ability for people to access and exit the path from the existing bridge in an emergency
- the path will go ahead regardless of any future plans for an additional Waitemata Harbour connection
- the path matches the shape and design of the existing bridge
- the path will include wide viewing galleries where people can gather to enjoy views without impeding the travel of pedestrians and cyclists.
“The route includes areas to pause and sit and it will have three generous viewing galleries. These galleries are terraced down from the pathway to create a natural seating area, distinct from the cycleway. About a hundred metres long and more than two metres wide, they provide plenty of places for people to rest an enjoy the beautiful views from the iconic bridge.”
Path will have day-time and night-time modes
The path will also have clear day- and night-time modes. The daytime mode creates a strong sculptural symbol for active transport across the harbour bridge while the night mode will use architectural lighting to shine an even greater spotlight on the iconic bridge structure.
Further details including a video which shows concept imaging of this option is available to view on the NZTA website.
The transport agency is also continuing to work on SeaPath, a 4km shared path between Northcote Point and Esmonde Road, Takapuna to ensure the design coordinates with plans for the Harbour Bridge Shared Path.
Construction could start as early as 2020
Funding is already included in the National Land Transport Plan for a walking and cycling connection over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and construction of the preferred option could start as early as next year.
“The transport agency is committed to building this new design for an Auckland Harbour Bridge Shared Path as quickly as possible to provide another key connection in the city’s walking and cycling network.”