A automobile lane on the Auckland Harbour Bridge may be blocked to allow bikes and pedestrians to utilise it.
Transport Minister Michael Wood said yesterday that the government intends to build a new separate bridge alongside the Auckland Harbour Bridge, at a cost of $785 million, exclusively for walkers, runners, and cyclists.
Prior to that, the government is contemplating dedicating an existing bridge lane to active transportation, a concept that Auckland councillors Pippa Coom and Chris Darby endorse.
Coom stated that there was a high demand for it.
“The missing link across the harbour bridge is for walking and cycling and also all the other e-mobility people are using now… people in wheelchairs, scootering, using skateboards,” Coom said.
“We’ve got to plan for that and we’ve got to get this connection in place.”
Darby said a bridge for cyclists and pedestrians had a strong business case, would be useful for commuters, and would become a tourist attraction.
Plans for a Skypath attached to the existing harbour bridge were scrapped in March.
“There has been a lot of false hope and false starts on the Skypath, the northern pathway across the Auckland harbour,” Darby said.
“Now we’ve got absolute government commitment and more importantly, you’ve got a budget – so finally we’ve got legs.”
Cycling campaigner Bevan Woodward supports trialling the use of one lane of the Auckland harbour bridge for walking and cycling.
He said yesterday that overseas experience showed taking a lane away would not grind the city to a halt.
Construction of the new bridge, next to the existing harbour bridge, could start as soon as next year and is expected to take six years to complete.