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Path to the future

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2013
SkyPath
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NEARING APPROVAL: The design for the proposed SkyPath, using composite materials used in the marine industry and America’s Cup.

SkyPath
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BEAUTIFUL VISTAS: Six viewing bays, one above each pier along the Auckland Harbour Bridge, will be six metres wide.

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Designs for a $31 million SkyPath cycleway across the Waitemata Harbour have been released.

A 1km long transparent tube made of hi-tech composites similar to those used in America's Cup boats will be slung under the harbour bridge.

The drawings have been provided by the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Trust just six days before the plan is expected to get a big tick from the council.

Councillors entering the confidential "decision-making" session at Auckland Town Hall this Thursday will view them alongside a final business case after raising concerns about the original proposal not being "robust enough".

SkyPath will give pedestrians and cyclists access under the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Patronage expectations and long-service life will be also among matters up for discussion at the meeting.

Trust spokesman Bevan Woodward expects a positive outcome that will lead to the council agreeing to underwrite the project in the new year. He says the trust is working on resource consent, estimated to cost $500,000, and wants it fully notified so everyone can have a say.

No final decision will be made until new designs for landings on both Northcote Pt and St Mary's Bay sides are shown to residents.

Designs for one of six, six-metre wide viewing bays - one for each pier along the Auckland Harbour Bridge - have also been released to the North Shore Times.

Concerns from some residents on either side of the bridge about insufficient detail on the entry and exits saw SkyPath designers head back to the drawing board and designs for the landings will be released on December 19.

Any further changes will be "minor" details, such as handrails, Mr Woodward says.

He says SkyPath has also been realigned to avoid Westhaven Drive.

The Westhaven Marine Users Association was demanding an $800,000 annual fee for public access to the drive.

The cost of the kilometre-long pathway was once estimated to be $28 million but the planned use of composite materials used in the global marine industry has pushed the final figure out.

A $3.7m four metre-wide "SeaPath" is also proposed to connect users to Takapuna.

North Shore councillor Chris Darby says elected members are now in a better position to approve SkyPath after a more thorough review.

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- North Shore Times

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