A great announcement yesterday, with the Government confirming it will fully fund SkyPath.
The government has announced it will fully fund a walking and cycling link across the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
It has confirmed this afternoon that $67 million of the National Land Transport Fund will be invested in the link, known as SkyPath.
The SkyPath pedestrian and cycle pathway across the bridge was given the green light in 2016 with the Environment Court granting the project its resource consent.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford said SkyPath was a transformational project that would give Aucklanders the freedom to walk and cycle from the North Shore to the city.
“SkyPath is the obvious, critical missing link in Auckland’s cycle network and will become an iconic feature of Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.
“SkyPath has been talked about for over a decade, but it now has the funding certainty to move ahead,” said Mr Twyford.
A detailed business case, which will provide more certainty around the design and timing of the project, will completed by NZTA by the middle of next year, Mr Twyford said.
This has been a long time coming, 59 years since the bridge first opened and nearly 10 years since it the SkyPath idea was first developed as the result of a protest over whether Aucklanders were allowed to celebrate the Harbour Bridge’s 50th anniversary by walking across it.
In the intervening years, there’s certainly been plenty of work by a lot of dedicated people to get the project to this point. I think enormous credit needs to go to the team who volunteered years of their lives to making this happen. Auckland owes a great gratitude to Bevan Woodward, Barbara Cuthbert and Max Robitzsch, alongside many others. This would not have happened without your persistence.
Hopefully confirmation that the government will fully fund SkyPath means that it won’t need to be tolled. It always seemed incongruous that you’d need to pay to walk over the bridge when you can drive over it for free.
Finally, semi related to this and the issue of another harbour crossing, this letter to the editor appeared in yesterday’s Herald from the NZTA. It comes in the wake of the terrible bridge collapse in Genoa with some people worried about the state of the Harbour Bridge.
Remaining in service indefinitely seems like a long time. Guess just another reason why we can focus future effort for crossing the harbour to be via transit and active modes.