Grafton Bridge opens for buses

17:00, Sep 08 2009

Grafton Bridge will reopen next month as a dedicated bus, pedestrian, cycling and emergency vehicle route during the day – and will be available for use by private and commercial vehicles at other times.

The council recently reviewed its 2004 decision, but decided to keep the bridge open to normal traffic between the hours of 7pm and 7am only.

Some bus services will begin using the route from October 5 while others will be added early next year.

It is expected that 65,000 bus patrons will travel over the bridge daily.

Newmarket Business Association chief executive Cameron Brewer had hoped it would be open to cars during the day.

"Until the bus corridor is running to optimum capacity, full utilisation of the strengthened bridge should be the priority given the congestion around central Auckland," Mr Brewer says.

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"Newmarket has been squeezed at all corners when you also consider the rail bridge replacement projects on Park, Khyber Pass, Remuera roads, and the construction of the new viaduct.

"The prospect of closing it to cars during daylight hours will only add to congestion on the likes of Khyber Pass Rd, Spaghetti Junction, and sadly through the Auckland Domain."

The association believes the bridge will be under-used until bus frequency catches up.

It recommended the council open it to private cars and commercial vehicles, and review it in three years time.

Transport committee chairman Ken Baguely says it is standard practice for the council to monitor all new bus lanes to ensure they are operating at maximum efficiency.

The 99-year-old bridge will be able to withstand a one-in-a-thousand-year earthquake and accommodate up to 1200 buses a day.

East And Bays Courier