Harbour Bridge walkway angers locals

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 19/02/2013
Auckland Harbour Bridge
JOHN SELKIRK/ Fairfax NZ

WALKWAY PROPOSED: Residents associations have concerns about the entry and exit points for the proposed Harbour Bridge walking and cycling pathway.

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Angry residents who claim they have not been consulted over the $28 million cycling and walking pathway across the Auckland Harbour Bridge will now have their say.

Auckland Council's transport committee supports in principle the SkyPath project, a proposed four-metre wide, kilometre-long pathway underneath the city-side bridge clip-on lane.

It is a private initiative being developed in consultation with the NZ Transport Agency, which signed off on the project's structural feasibility last year.

Now the council's strategy and finance committee will investigate and public consultation will occur.

Tony Skelton of the St Mary's Bay Association spoke to the committee about concerns around the proposed entry and exits and questioned proposed patronage and profit numbers.

''Without those numbers then how on earth can you consider this?'' he asked.

Northcote Residents Association chairwoman Carol Brown said SkyPath users driving to the bridge will clog up residential streets. She said it should be connected to the Shoal Bay pathway.

The council's long-term plan for the city includes the SkyPath as a zero cost project, as a private investor will cover 100 per cent of the cost.

Bevan Woodward, representing the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Trust, said the council vote gave a mandate for thorough public consultation.

Steven Proctor is funding the entire project, aiming to see an 8 per cent return through tolling, Woodward said.

Auckland Transport incorrectly projected the SkyPath would cost an additional $13m, causing confusion and delaying the project's future, Woodward said.

The $28m cost estimate includes a $4m contingency fund for some of the issues Auckland Transport raised and over-estimated. 

Woodward said the city-side entrance will connect with the $5.8m Westhaven pathway, while Northcote Pt will be the North Shore side exit. Kaipatiki, Devonport-Takapuna and Waitemata local boards support the project.

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