Harbour Bridge Cycle Pathway Design Unveiled


The design for the proposed new Auckland Harbour Bridge pathway under the bridge’s southbound (city side) clip-on was unveiled this afternoon.

The pathway will cost $22.8m and there will be a toll of $2 for HOP card users (and $5 for cash/credit card/text users) which over a 20 year period, is said to support a total construction cost of $23M.

On the Auckland City side the Pathway connects directly to Westhaven Drive, which is part of Auckland City’s existing 50-km cycling circuit, and provides access to the CBD via Westhaven and the Wynyard Quarter development. Connection into Ponsonby is provided by existing walking and cycling path along Curran Street or via Shelley Beach Road.

On the northern side, it is proposed the Pathway connects to Princes Street, Northcote Point where the local street network provides access to Northcote, AUT University, Glenfield, Birkenhead, Takapuna and other North Shore suburbs and facilities.

There is an option for including three observation platforms which will provide a place to stop and take in the view. The observation platforms could include a coffee stand, art and information displays.

No government funding has been allocated so Hopper Developments has provided a proposal for a Public Private Partnership with Auckland Council to deliver the Pathway.

Mayor Len Brown threw his public support behind at least the concept at a ceremony at Karanga Plaza (originally Gateway plaza) at the newly opened Wynyard Quarter. But he did not go as far as to commit to funding.

He said it was time for a can do attitude in Auckland to make such projects happen.

The group’s designs have been professionally prepared by Copeland Associates Architects and structural engineers Airey Consultants and Holmes Consulting Group. They feature a covered walkway that is cocooned under the southbound Harbour Bridge clip-on with a perforated aluminium screen enabling views of the city, harbour and Hauraki Gulf.

Leigh Hooper of Hooper developments said a public partner development would enable the project to happen.
“Our research - which is based on deliberately conservative financial modelling - shows a PPP is quite capable of achieving the required level funding which can be supported by the toll and the sale of naming rights.”
It still has to meet NZTA approval.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, who also spoke, congratulated the Get Across organizers for getting the concept this far.

Get Across organisers Bevan Woodward & Andy Smith

Pathway group spokesman Bevan Woodward says the group is very pleased to have made such good progress over the last three months.

The public can give feedback at the group’s site.

An acceptable pedestrian management system will need to be approved by NZTA to limit the number of pedestrians on the Pathway at any one time.

PWG spokesman Bevan Woodward says that from an operational health and safety perspective, probably no more than 1,000 users are wanted on the Pathway at any one time “However this allows for a conservative throughput of 5000 people per hour  which is more than sufficient to make the project doable,” he says.

The number of Pathway users will be controlled by the barrier gates with a counting device and overseen by on-site security personnel and CCTV cameras.

The proposed Pathway has been costed by quantity surveyors WT Partnership. In summary the indicative preliminary cost estimates (including contingencies) are:

Pathway and access ramps $17.4M
Bridge additional strengthening $3.8M
Design review costs $1.6M

Video of Mayor Len Brown’s speech




  1. Andrew Miller says:

    How does being under a clip-on affect the walkway? Aren’t the clip-ons to be replaced? Just wondering…

  2. Jon C says:

    @Andrew No they’re not. Leigh Hooper told the gathering the bridge was said to have 15-20 more years life so the pathway would be fine for then although they would be built to stand another 50 years.

  3. Nick says:

    My concern with the pathway being on the city side of the bridge and nestled in under the clip-on, is that I don’t think it will get any sun after about midday. That in itself is a critical part of its design especially for such a human experience.

    I think the toll isn’t right either, pedestrians should never be charged to move around their city. But I’m glad pedestrians will be able to get to use the bridge than not at all.

  4. Miggle says:

    $22 million is a rounding error in the national transport budget, it’s bizarre that this has to be privately funded.

  5. tbird says:

    I think this is a good idea. I wish the guy who’s organising it good luck.

    On TV3 news tonight there was this Welsh lady (I just had sound, no picture) who was complaining that it was unfair to pay a toll. But I think most people are sensible about it - it you want something, then you can pay for it. (Somebody’s going to pay anyway)

  6. Matt L says:

    I have never been a big fan of the bridge as I think it looks pretty ugly but I think this walkway really helps to make it more interesting and unique. I especially like the idea of lighting it for special events, similar to what happens with the Sky Tower.

  7. Greenwelly says:

    I think you were referring to Auckland city councillor Cathy Casey

  8. Andu says:

    I think we have to support this. Push for the best deal possible, but make the deal and get it done.

  9. HamishD says:

    A Nip-on Clip-on Nip-on Clip-on????

  10. Carl says:

    so this is going to be attached to a clip on, and they need to be replaced in 15 years, yet this thing is going to take 20 years to be paid off….

    UMMMMM how does that work?

  11. Nigel says:

    The actual walkway/cycleway looks a weeny bit scary to me. How much visible “over and down” will there be? How much will it move around? Will I be able to cycle straight or look a bit wobbly on wheels.

  12. KarlHansen says:

    The clip-ons don’t need to be replaced in 15-20 years. They may need further maintenance work OR be replaced in that time. There’s also the “Bridge additional strengthening $3.8M” cost, which will help ensure that the design life of the clip-ons is not degraded by adding the cycleway. The Pathways team and Beca (NZTA’s engineers) have spent a lot of time on this.

    By the way, the Pathways team calls the cycleway section that hangs on the clip-on the “grip-on” ;-)

    Nigel - not sure what you mean? The cycleway will not “move” any much more than the bridge does. It might vibrate a bit if a truck rumbles across above, but it’s not going to sway and shake. It will fulfill all the requirements of a normal cycleway, including width, stability etc… And of course it will have railings, plus you have the mesh screens for wind protection and to prevent people from falling / jumping off.

  13. KarlHansen says:

    @Greenwelly and @Tbird - Well, if Cathy Casey can stump up the money to make it free… if not, lets go for tolls, better to be able to pay to cross, than not be able to pay and still not be able to cross.

  14. penfold says:

    It surprises me that they can’t get corporate funding. Naming rights for a relatively high profile piece of infrastructure for 20 years for around $20M seems like it would be a good deal. Of course, I imagine that the NZTA wouldn’t allow for a piece of advertising to be attached to a piece of their infrastructure.

  15. marten says:

    Penfold, my understanding is that they HAVE a funder lined up (at least for the bare-bones pathway structure, minus the viewing platforms), but that it remains an “approvals thing” with NZTA.

    I am not sure anyone would pay $20 mil for naming rights. And no, they would not allow advertising on the structure itself, extremely unlikely, and would fail with heritage people too. Will be difficult enough to get them to agree to the visual change inherent in adding the “bulge” of the pathway, I’d guess.

    Maybe a light-up name during the night might be possible.

  16. Malcolm says:

    Awesome. Its a travesty it hasnt been built already, but better late than never. Build it!

  17. Cam says:

    Why is Mike Lee trying to pur cold water all over this? As far as I can see they are not asking for council funding so why not support it.

  18. Rachel says:

    100% behind the idea as it’s well overdue. I do not agree that the toll is necessary though. Below is a very interesting extract from Grist on the economic benefits of cycling from a study in Copenhagen. Believe me if Auckland could be half as good as Copenhagen in terms of cycle friendliness - Auckland would rate even higher in the world’s best cities.

    One mile on a bike is a $.42(NZ$ .51) economic gain to society, one mile driving is a $.20(NZ$ .24) loss

    Copenhagen, the bicycle-friendliest place on the planet, publishes a biannual Bicycle Account, and buried in its pages is a rather astonishing fact, reports Andy Clarke, president of the league of American Bicyclists:

    “When all these factors are added together the net social gain is DKK 1.22 per cycled kilometer. For purposes of comparison there is a net social loss of DKK 0.69 per kilometer driven by car.” 1.22 Danish crowns is about 25 cents and a kilometer is 6/10 of a mile, so we are talking about a net economic gain to society of 42 cents for every bicycle mile traveled. That’s a good number to have in your back pocket.

    And what are all the “social gains” that bicycling grants the city of Copenhagen?

    A number of factors are included in the equation such as transport costs, security, comfort, branding/tourism, transport times and health.

    Considering that both sitting and car exhaust kill you, it’s a safe bet a lot of the net benefit to society is simply that cycling makes you less of a drag on health insurance and the safety net.

    Since the total health benefit of Copenhagen residents’ healthy cycling habits is DKK 5.51 per km, the annual benefit is worth the equivalent of approx. DKK 2.0 billion.

    Which means that Copenhagen, a city of 1.2 million people, saves $357 million (NZ$436 mill) a year on health costs because something like 80 percent of its population commutes by bicycle, even in winter. That’s $300 (NZ$366) per person per year. Clearly, the reason the new Danish minister of the interior said she’d “rather invest in cycle tracks than freeways,” is that only one of those has a positive return.


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