Trans­port com­mit­tee meet to con­sider bridge op­tions

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

Cam­paign­ers face the sec­ond round to­day in the bat­tle for walk­ers and cy­clists to use the Auck­land Har­bour Bridge.

Op­tions and costs for the project are to be con­sid­ered by the Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil’s trans­port com­mit­tee this morn­ing.

Last week their coun­ter­parts at Auck­land City Coun­cil dis­missed the walk­way and cy­cle­way as too pricey.

Get Across cam­paign leader Be­van Wood­ward says that de­ci­sion was “short sighted” and hoped it wouldn’t be re­peated to­day.

“We are hop­ing the other four project part­ners will con­tinue with their sup­port,” he says.

Mr Wood­ward says the city coun­cil’s trans­port com­mit­tee back-tracked without warn­ing on its De­cem­ber de­ci­sion to sup­port the project.

His group has yet to see a draft of the multi-agency re­port, which is still to be fin­ished.

“It’s a real con­cern to us that th­ese de­ci­sions are be­ing made when we don’t have the full re­port,” Mr Wood­ward says.

He says le­gal action is be­ing con­sid­ered but will be an “op­tion of last re­sort”.

The re­port was funded by Auck­land city and re­gional coun­cils, North Shore City Coun­cil, the New Zealand Trans­port Agency, the Auck­land Re­gional Trans­port Au­thor­ity.

Study di­rec­tor Richard Hancy says it’s still be­ing writ­ten, but the main work is com­plete.

Part­ner groups, in­clud­ing Get Across, have been in­volved dur­ing the process and briefed on its find­ings, he says.

City coun­cil trans­port com­mit­tee chair­man Ken Bag­u­ley says his ad­vice was the re­port had been through the proper process.

The com­mit­tee’s po­si­tion changed since De­cem­ber be­cause at that stage costs were not avail­able.

The $40 mil­lion price tag for the best op­tion put for­ward last week is too ex­pen­sive, he says.

“But it’s not Auck­land city’s call at the end of the day,” Mr Bag­u­ley says.

“If all the other coun­cils thought it was a bril­liant idea and if Auck­land was out on its own, then so be it.

“Auck­land would be up for $1.3m for the path­way to the bridge and we’d se­ri­ously look at that.”

Re­gional coun­cil of­fi­cers rec­om­mend sup­port­ing the project, and ad­vo­cate the $23.8m “no widen­ing” op­tion, which pro­vides close to min­i­mum lane width for ve­hi­cles.

Trans­port com­mit­tee chair­woman Chris­tine Rose said last week no other project could send such a clear mes­sage about get­ting peo­ple out of cars.

“It’s the bridge’s 50th birth­day next year. It’s be­longed to cars for half a cen­tury. It’s time to open the bridge up.”

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