5 Jun 2021

Bikes could take over one lane on Auckland Harbour Bridge

12:49 pm on 5 June 2021

A lane on Auckland Harbour Bridge could temporarily be closed to cars, so cyclists and pedestrians can use it.

The cyclists on the bridge

Cycling protesters closed two northbound lanes of the Auckland Harbour Bridge last weekend. Photo: Waka Kotahi NZTA

Transport Minister Michael Wood yesterday confirmed the government wants to build a new separate bridge - at an estimated cost of $785 million - alongside the Auckland Harbour Bridge, specifically for walkers, runners and cyclists.

Ahead of that the government is considering temporarily devoting an existing bridge lane to active transport, a plan that is supported by Auckland councillors Pippa Coom and Chris Darby.

Coom said there was plenty of demand for it.

"The missing link across the harbour bridge is for walking and cycling and also all the other e-mobility people are using now... people in wheelchairs, scootering, using skateboards," Coom said.

"We've got to plan for that and we've got to get this connection in place."

Darby said a bridge for cyclists and pedestrians had a strong business case, would be useful for commuters, and would become a tourist attraction.

Plans for a Skypath attached to the existing harbour bridge were scrapped in March.

"There has been a lot of false hope and false starts on the Skypath, the northern pathway across the Auckland harbour," Darby said.

"Now we've got absolute government commitment and more importantly, you've got a budget - so finally we've got legs."

Cycling campaigner Bevan Woodward supports trialling the use of one lane of the Auckland harbour bridge for walking and cycling.

He said yesterday that overseas experience showed taking a lane away would not grind the city to a halt.

Construction of the new bridge, next to the existing harbour bridge, could start as soon as next year and is expected to take six years to complete.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs