27 Mar 2024

Auckland's Wynyard crossing bridge closure causing strife for businesses

10:05 pm on 27 March 2024

The ongoing closure of a popular but broken pedestrian bridge that links Auckland's Viaduct to a strip of waterfront restaurants is causing strife for businesses that have been cut off.

The Wynyard crossing bridge is stuck in the up position, after closing to the public in January due to a number of faults and it is unclear when it will reopen.

When working, it opens and closes for boats to pass and pedestrians to cross - now those walking or cycling have to take the back streets.

The sudden closure of the bridge has been "brutal for business", owner of Baduzzi restaurant Michael Dearth said, for all businesses on the side cut off from the city.

The bridge first closed in November, but was fixed a week later, before closing again due to another part being broken in January, Dearth said.

"The bridge is a lifeline to this neighbourhood. I've had people not making their reservations or calling and complaining about being stuck in the rain and choosing to cancel because of the closure.

"It's worrying because hospitality has been banged around a lot these past few years. Having our main lifeline cut really hurts and it doesn't seem like they're educating people about how to get around it while it's closed."

General manager of the Park Hyatt in Viaduct Harbour Brett Sweetman agreed businesses in the area had all been impacted and hotel guests had issues getting to ferries and the Viaduct.

"They can still get there but it's an extra 10 to 15 minute walk which can be an issue, especially for some of our older guests. In some cases we've had to drive guests over there."

An Eke Panuku spokesperson said they were working hard to resolve the issues but recent assessments had shown the faults were more significant than first thought.

"A technical fault with the bridge's cabling was found earlier this month, when repair works were undertaken, a deeper fault was found with the bridge's winch."

The bridge would be out of operation until further notice, the spokesperson said, and engineers were making a plan for the "safest and most efficient" next steps.

A pedestrian bridge that links Auckland's Viaduct to a strip of waterfront restaurants is broken and stuck in the up position.

The bridge is stuck in the up position. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

According to Eke Panuku's website, the bridge had to remain upright when not operational to allow access for boats, as it was legally required under the bridge's resource consent conditions.

Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said the bridge was an important connection for Aucklanders and the closure affected everyone in the area.

"It's concerning there's no date for reopening - we're waiting to see the outcome, it's an important connection and it being out of action is not good.

"There's been numerous issues with it recently, it was meant to be a temporary bridge so it is coming towards the end of its life, but we're an international city and transport is integral to the success of it."

An engineering report on the bridge will be made available on Thursday, Eke Panuku has said.

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