Harbour Bridge Walkway Move


The ability for Aucklanders to cycle or walk across the Auckland Harbour Bridge got a boost today.

Auckland Council’s Transport Committee this morning endorsed establishing a technical steering group to investigate access for pedestrians across the Harbour Bridge.

The proposed members of the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Technical Steering Group are the council, Auckland Transport, New Zealand Transport Agency, Waterfront Auckland and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.

It would also include the Pathway Group, a team of Auckland professionals who have developed a proposal for a pathway on the bridge.

The group recently released a report into the feasibility and funding of a pathway attached under the southbound bridge clip-on.

The Mayor established the initiative as a strategic priority.

Mayor Len Brown said a pathway would be a boost to tourism as well as provide an important alternative transport option between the North Shore and of the rest of Auckland.”

But there are still issues to resolve.

A key issue for the steering group to investigate is whether the bridge can physically and structurally accommodate a safe pathway.

Funding is also an issue with the Pathway Group investigating alternatives including a toll.

Auckland Council Transport Committee Chair Mike Lee backs the move.

“Cycling and walking across the bridge has long been sought by Aucklanders and the magnificent views this would provide would also create a popular visitor attraction,” says Cr Lee. “A Harbour Bridge that also carries walkers and cyclists would add more value to the existing Harbour Bridge.”

The proponents of the pathway recently complained about a coolness that had been developed to their proposal. Bevan Woodwood and Andy Smith sent an email to supporters reading:

You may have heard through the media that NZTA consultant’s Beca have provided only the briefest of responses to our technical proposal for the Pathway.

We asked Beca to substantiate their claims that the Pathway isn’t feasible but they refuse and have to admitThe [Beca] review carried out to date does not constitute a formal peer review“. We don’t think that this is very professional behaviour by Beca.  If they’re going to make claims, then they must be prepared to back them up.   But maybe that’s the problem… Beca can’t substantiate their claims.  Unfortunately NZTA remain happy with the status quo and are not abiding by our agreement to properly review the Pathway proposal.
Thankfully Mayor Len Brown is strongly in support of the Pathway and his involvement is helping move things forward. We know we have a workable solution and we’re looking forward to showing you our proposed Pathway design soon.”

The Pathway would be attached under the deck cantilever of the eastern clip-on, as shown:

A controversial part will be the toll.

Proposed tolls are:

  • Public transport Smartcard $1.95 each way, $3.90 return
  • EFTPOS, cash, credit card, texting $5.00 each way, $10.00 return
  • The toll for children will be about half these rates.

The revenue source from the Pathway toll has been calculated over 15 years to be able to service and repay a construction debt of approximately $16 million (using a net present value calculation on the forecast revenues) at a return of 9.5% pa.

More about the proposal in an earlier post.

In May 2009 cyclists and pedestrians walked across the bridge illegally (including me!) in protest at the then refusal by the transport authority to consider a pathway.




  1. Jb says:

    I almost feel like the tolls are a way of ‘tricking’ NZTA into allowing construction.

  2. patrick davis says:

    Yep, put in a toll inorder to get it built. Then have everyone refuse to pay it! What they gonna do, rip it down?

  3. Stranded on the North Shore says:

    I support the tolls on this project. No worries. Silly, if the cars can go free, and not the pedestrians, but it’s better than nothing.

  4. BD says:

    Why not toll the Harbour bridge, imagine the money Auckland council would make! For all its worth we could have enough money to build the Auckland Rail Tunnel, don’t punish the pedestrians, who make an effort to use public transport.

  5. Roger says:

    My concern is that people will not use an under-slung arrangement. When the new (now not-so-new) Mangere Bridge was build very few people used the pedestrian “tunnel” under the western edge. With the curve it was not possible to confirm if vagrants were loitering along the walkway.

    Admittedly the old bridge was still available to walk and cycle over but can’t something at road level be designed for the harbour bridge? How would paramedics get to anybody who needed assistance in the current proposal?

    This feels to me like a minimum cost design, something we have a long history of, sadly.

  6. JB says:

    Agree with BD: Toll the cars. (But this is Auckland). Despite the immense cynicism we may have with the truly messed up situation we find ourselves in, we surely have to get behind this proposal.

    Here’s an anecdote I overheard on the train which beautifully sums up the situation:

    “Gotta act like the peasants [NZTA] think we are til we get s**t built.”

  7. Patrick R says:

    Anyone who has walked across the Brooklyn bridge knows how wonderful it is to be above the traffic, and that is a shared space, roller bladers, cyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians, all weaving and mixing it up… wonderful and all above the dirty roilling traffic below…. still, anything to be able to get across that inelegant stack of steel under human propulsion is to be supported wildly.

  8. Carl says:

    suspended above would be awesome.

    forget a toll, auckland needs a congestion charge.

    I wonder how much money is going to be spent on “looking into it”

    surely this could have been done when they “looked into” building a tunnel or another bridge.

  9. Brent C says:

    I don’t even think our law allows a toll to be established. I’m not sure of this, but it could require a change of legislation through government.

  10. Swan says:

    Remember the higher it goes the higher the climb. I think the design looks like a winner for cost effectiveness you will get great views to the city

  11. Brian Nelson says:

    So, let me see…as a cyclist, I’d be lessening congestion on our motorway, emitting no carbon dioxide or other airborne pollutants, not using fossil fuels that will bring on peak oil more quickly, causing no noise pollution, bettering my health and ultimately less cost to take care of me (healthcare)…and the city’s plan is that I’d get to pay for all those privileges. They go cheap and build a substandard design and then provide a disincentive for people to use it. Amazing.


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