Lightpath is just over a year old but it quickly reached iconic status and feels like it has been part of the city for a lot longer than it has. As of the end of January, over 228k people had cycled along its magenta surface. But that surface is not as bright as it originally was, having been faded by the elements. It has also been cracking and blistering in places.
To fix these issues the NZTA are closing this important connection for just over a week starting next Wednesday to fix it.
Auckland’s Lightpath cycleway will get its own special sunscreen application next month, to protect it from the elements and make its colour even more vibrant.
The magenta surface will be refreshed and UV protected as part of ongoing maintenance.
The work means the shared path will be closed to all users between the 1st and the 9th of March.
“This UV coating is marine grade and is used on cruise and container ships, so the paint surface will now live up to the harshest possible conditions and will be far more fade resistant,” says Brett Gliddon the NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland Highway Manager.
“We’re delighted with the popularity of the Lightpath and apologise for any inconvenience its closure will cause, but along with Auckland Transport and Auckland Council, we’re committed to keeping it well maintained so that many more thousands of people can continue to enjoy it.”
The estimated cost of the refresh and UV protection is $115,000, which will be funded through money previously set aside by Auckland Council from the City Centre Targeted Rate.
The UV coating will involve a base coat being painted on to the existing surface, which will look a little redder than the current surface, the final magenta top coat will then be applied which will create the vibrant magenta colour again.
The work can only be carried out during dry weather and so the closure dates may be shifted.
Very wet weather at the time the original surface was laid is believed to have caused some bonding issues with the existing surface which is made of recycled glass and this will be fixed during the maintenance work.
This from Stuff shows the difference between the original surface and what it will look like after this work is done.
I’m a little conflicted over this. On one hand I can appreciate that this work needs to be done and the weather narrows down when this can happen. But on the other hand, this is also the time of the year that is most conducive to cycling and closing it for over a week leaves people who want a safe, protected option for accessing the western side of the city without one. Can you imagine the NZTA accepting a motorway being fully closed for a week for works?
It’s also disappointing that this needs to happen, why wasn’t weathering factored in when the surface was originally laid or were corners cut in order to get it open on time?
Let’s hope the NZTA and AT get this work done as fast as possible and that there are no further delays.