Sup­port for old Viaduct bridge

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

City of­fi­cials are re­think­ing plans to put ma­jor bus routes through the Viaduct Har­bour across a new lift­ing bridge.

Con­cerns have been raised over us­ing the planned Te Wero bridge for hun­dreds of buses ev­ery day, link­ing the Wyn­yard Quar­ter de­vel­op­ment with the cen­tral city.

The hefty $51 mil­lion price tag has also prompted calls for the ex­ist­ing 1930s her­itage lift­ing bridge to be re­stored in­stead.

For­mer Auck­land Har­bour Board chair­man Harry Ju­lian says Auck­land City Coun­cil’s plan for the Te Wero bridge is a farce.

“It’s a to­tal waste of money,” he says.

Mr Ju­lian says the ex­ist­ing bridge, in use from 1932 un­til the Viaduct Har­bour de­vel­op­ment in the 1990s, can be re­stored for un­der $200,000.

The bridge is fixed down and car­ries ser­vice pipes un­der­neath, but is oth­er­wise in work­ing or­der.

“I’d bet my shirt that apart from dis­con­nect­ing the pipes, you could have the bridge run­ning with a week of main­te­nance,” he says.

Mr Ju­lian, 83, ob­jects to use of the Viaduct as a pub­lic trans­port thor­ough­fare.

“On the week­end there are thou­sands of peo­ple wan­der­ing around, looking at the boats, in the restau­rants,” he says.

“If you make that a through­way for traf­fic, that’s all fin­ished.”

Heart of the City chief ex­ec­u­tive Alex Swney says there needs to be more dis­cus­sion about the kind of water­front Auck­lan­ders want.

He says the im­ages put for­ward for con­sul­ta­tion don’t re­flect the level of traffi pro­posed.

“I dread to think that we’ll be looking back at plans for Wyn­yard Quar­ter and shak­ing our heads,” Mr Swney says.

A re­think was also urged by for­mer city coun­cil­lor Greg McKe­own at a coun­cil meet­ing last month.

Mr McKe­own said sup­port was grow­ing for use of the her­itage bridge in­stead of the Te Wero de­sign.

The coun­cil agreed to a peer re­view of the plans be­fore mov­ing for­ward on the bridge plans.

City de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee chair­man Aaron Bhat­na­gar says the re­view will look at con­cerns around cost and whether the bridge achieves the best out­come for the Viaduct.

The coun­cil has al­lo­cated $31.9m in de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions to the project, while Auck­land Re­gional Hold­ings is to put in $5.2m.

The short­fall could be made up with a sub­sidy from the New Zealand Trans­port Agency, but only if the bridge acts as a key trans­port route.

“There are some Viaduct busi­nesses and landown­ers con­cerned about hav­ing a pub­lic trans­port link through there,” Mr Bhat­na­gar says.

“We will be seek­ing in­put from lo­cal stake­hold­ers as well, it won’t be a closed-shop re­view.”

The peer re­view will be re­ported back to the coun­cil this month.

Photo: NEW ZEALAND NA­TIONAL MAR­ITIME MU­SEUM

Rolling lift: The lift­ing bridge at the Viaduct Har­bour just af­ter be­ing in­stalled in 1932. The bridge and its wooden con­trol booth are still in place to­day.

Twin leaf: The de­sign for the Te Wero lift­ing bridge.

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