Bridge ac­cess bat­tle goes on

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

Cycling and walk­ing ad­vo­cates are still push­ing for trial ac­cess to the Auck­land Har­bour Bridge this sum­mer.

That’s de­spite trans­port au­thor­i­ties shelv­ing plans for a per­ma­nent walk­way and cy­cle­way, say­ing it’s not a pri­or­ity.

Ge­tAcross spokesman Be­van Wood­ward says the stance is dis­ap­point­ing, given the wide pub­lic sup­port for the project.

He wants to see the New Zealand Trans­port Agency take a “can do” at­ti­tude to pro­vid­ing trial ac­cess this sum­mer.

“Lo­gis­ti­cally, it is easy to do be­cause the bridge’s north­bound clip-on lanes will be closed each Satur­day night for the strength­en­ing project,” he says.

“The lanes could re­main closed un­til early af­ter­noon on Sun­day to al­low Auck­lan­ders to walk and cy­cle across the har­bour.”

Trans­port agency act­ing re­gional man­ager Tommy Parker says a trial hasn’t been for­mally con­sid­ered, but would be dif­fi­cult.

“There will be sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tions for en­sur­ing safety if peo­ple walk up there, also traf­fic man­age­ment is­sues as to how you get peo­ple on and off,” he says.

“The bridge is closed for the marathon but there are a lot of spe­cial man­age­ment plans that are put in place for that.

“For a gen­eral open­ing that would be much more dif­fi­cult.”

Mr Parker says the trans­port agency board de­cided a per­ma­nent walk­ing and cy­cle­way is not a pri­or­ity.

Rea­sons for the de­ci­sion in­cluded the cost, es­ti­mated at $43 mil­lion plus the cost of con­nec­tions on both sides.

It would also mean more main­te­nance costs and ve­hi­cle re­stric­tions on the bridge.

“In­creased load­ing on the clip-on lanes will mean that you have to ad­just load­ing else­where, which will mean re­stric­tions to heavy goods ve­hi­cles,” he says.

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