With the Government’s announcement that the next harbour crossing will be a tunnel, NZTA has confirmed that SkyPath is its preferred option for walking and cycling across the Waitemata Harbour.
This will save tax payers and ratepayers the approximately $25 million that would otherwise been required for NZTA’s prior plan (to extend the eastern clip-on’s width by 1.2 metres following completion of the next Harbour Crossing to provide a pathway on the AHB). Details of NZTA’s prior plans for walking and cycling provision as part of the next Harbour Crossing are available in this report for NZTA.
The recommended approach for the 1.2 metres extension to the eastern (city side) clip-on deck is summarised on page E10. The potential landings developed for NZTA at each end are shown here for the southern side and here for the northern side .
The timing of the next Harbour Crossing will not be known until after the Western Ring Route has opened and the traffic patterns are able to be monitored. NZTA advise this monitoring period will occur in 2017 to 2021, after which a decision on the Next Harbour Crossing can be made.
This statement by NZTA’s Stephen Town to the Kaipatiki Local Board in March 2013 provides further information about the clip-ons and SkyPath.
In 2014, NZTA will work with Auckland Transport and the Trust to progress investigation of a Northern Link with the goal of providing a connection for SkyPath users through to Northcote and Takapuna.
The existing AHB “clip-on” lanes were strengthened by the NZTA in 2010. This work has considerably extended the life span of the clip-on lanes and consequently the NZTA expects the clip-on lanes to have an indefinite service life (e.g. the next 100 years) providing heavy freight movements are transferred to a new harbour crossing at a certain load trigger point. However, further strengthening would be necessary for a pathway to be attached to the AHB and the NZTA has advised it may consider funding some of this cost.
Previous designs for walking and cycling on the AHB were for an on-deck facility, and were either not feasible or too costly
SkyPath will not reduce vehicle capacity on the AHB now or in the future. SkyPath will not be visible from the traffic lanes. Positive benefits of the SkyPath will include congestion relief from an increase in people commuting to work in the city by walking or cycling and emissions reductions.