Yesterday NZTA released the results of their long-awaited work into designing a walking and cycling connection across the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Bike Auckland have a fantastically detailed post on the long history of this project, and describe what different between this new design and the previous Skypath proposal:

Initial images show a pathway along the city side of the bridge: it’s cantilevered off the piers, and roughly level with the roadway. According to the official media release, the path echoes the shape and design of the existing bridge, with a five metre wide travel width, and three wider and spacious terraced galleries about 100m long, stepped down from the walkway and cycleway, creating a natural seating area where people can gather or pause to take in the views.

Crucially, the announcement notes that because this pathway will be attached to the bridge piers rather than the clip-on, that means “no restrictions on the number of people who can access the path at one time, and it is designed to cater for future demands”. The Transport Agency’s General Manager System Design and Delivery, Brett Gliddon, says construction could begin as early as next year.

Here are the images NZTA has released:

It seems like the design changes make good sense. The pathway can be wider and with separation between walkers and cyclists, there won’t need to be restrictions on the number of people who can use it at any one time, and there are more ways people could exit the structure in an emergency. This will come at a higher cost, estimated at around $100 million, and I hope that new resource consents are not required, but in the long run I think it’s important that we build this properly.

So what next? NZTA’s media release notes that funding for the project is already included in the National Land Transport Programme, and also that construction could start by the end of next year. Bike Auckland’s post elaborates on this further.

So, what next? When can we ride?

You’ll have as many questions as we do, especially about timing and legalities. Like us, you’ll want to know specifics about the widths and materials, the shape of the viewing areas and whether they’re covered, and the details of the landings at each end, as well as questions around operating hours and all the many other issues that were canvassed along SkyPath’s road to the Environment Court and resource consent.

The onus is now on the Transport Agency to clarify these issues as it proceeds to detailed design.

In particular, we’ll want to know about whether the existing resource consent can be leveraged, with conditions varied as necessary, to ensure as swift a delivery as possible.

Because the last thing any of us wants is to turn the clock back a decade and start entirely from scratch. With everything we now know about climate, health, resilient networks – and with the growing bike boom – certain and swift completion of this missing link is the highest priority. The Agency is talking about construction beginning as early as next year, i.e. 2020. Let’s hold them to that!

(Not to get ahead of ourselves, but: one thing we do know from Lightpath, which went from twinkle-in-Max’s-eye to actual pink path in just over a year, is that when the road ahead is clear, NZTA can build at pace!)

NZTA haven’t exactly covered themselves with glory recently on pretty much anything, so we’ll be watching closely to make sure they get on with this.

So what about the previous Skypath proposal? Bike Auckland make the point that without Skypath’s tenacity there’s no chance we would have reached this point by now.

A decade of work isn’t something to let go of lightly; especially when you have fought the good fight against stony-faced officialdom that insisted it couldn’t be done. On the other hand, officialdom has now risen to the challenge with a design that’s fully fit for the future, and is eager to deliver.

So it’s time to parley. Because the other part of today’s announcement was the result of an inquiry into NZTA’s correspondence with the SkyPath Trust, acknowledging that the Agency “could have communicated sooner that it was looking at alternative options.”

There are clearly loose ends to be tied up on that score, and we warmly encourage the Agency and the SkyPath Trust to work together to reach a resolution of any outstanding issues.

Whatever happens next, the story of SkyPath will forever stand as an inspiring example of ingenuity, passionate dedication, and a sheer determination.

Today’s design ultimately rests on the inspirational leadership and visionary momentum generated by thousands of dedicated volunteer hours of energy, expertise, and public spirit thanks to the GetAcross Campaign and the SkyPath Trust. We also credit the unflagging support of the people of Auckland over the years, and this government’s commitment to delivering a harbour crossing as a proud legacy for our city.

Plus, good luck getting everyone not to call the eventual crossing “SkyPath”! The name is synonymous with Auckland’s aspirations to be able to walk and bike over the bridge, and it will live on as enduring testament to the courageous legacy of Bevan Woodward and his tireless warriors over the years, who knew it could be done. They were right.

Thankfully it seems like peace is being made between the Skypath Trust and NZTA, with Bevan Woodward noting that he had a constructive meeting with NZTA yesterday, and that this coming Sunday’s planned protest has been called off.

It is super exciting that NZTA have finally put petty battles behind them, are stepping up to the plate and delivering on a key addition to Auckland’s transport system. But my final word of thanks must be to all the hard working volunteers that just never gave up over the past decade. You know who you are and Auckland owes you a great debt of gratitude.

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91 comments

  1. Well done Auckland – great move. This is intriguing – if, as you state, it is not connected to the existing bridge, but is instead truly spanning from pier to pier, then it is really a miracle of modern engineering – but more than that too. This is a whole new bridge – and you know what that means, don’t you? This IS the second harbour crossing, and there is not a car on it. Brilliant.

    Anyone know how the heck they are going to build it? Fibreglass? Composite? Space frame? Monocoque? Segmented?

    1. Well if you are counting each structurally distinct bridge separately, we already have five harbour crossings and this would be the sixth!

    2. Because it’s hooked directly into the bridge piers which have plenty of strength in them, they’re not limited by materials so have said it will be built with steel

      1. One think I like here is how they have more-gracefully replicated the shape of the clip-on, but simultaneously are hiding the clunky old box structure behind it. If anything the contrast of the modern addition serves to highlight the original arch structure better.

        I just wish they could extend this with a vertical element down to the waterline at the three bulge points where the viewing platforms are. I think that would really ground things visually, and it would help sort out the hodge-podge.

          1. They do! Kinda like bicycles. Both of which a very handy for getting around.

            But we’re getting off topic.

            The only problem with this scheme is that it’s 30 years too late for me. I’ve tried to walk home after a night on the town and been forced to take a taxi. Once I took a bus but never again.

    3. It’s a pretty long span for a footbridge.

      The relative displacement of the clip-ons and the footbridge will be interesting to design around. As good a reason for making a solid wall between them as any. Probably quite nausea-inducing.

  2. It seems like too much of a coincidence that they announced this the week before the planned protest. In that respect the protest could be considered successful.

    So much respect for all those who have campaigned for this for so long. Hopefully getting it finished won’t require any more activism to keep NZTA motivated.

  3. So this not attached to the clip on but cantilevered directly off the existing piers. If the piers can support additional structures then why not have this sky path on the western side and have a light rail line bridge on the eastern side. There can’t be that much difference in weight or loading on pier supports.

    1. I’m no engineer, but I would say the dead loading of a rail bridge plus the live loading of 40 ton vehicles moving across it would create forces an order of magnitude higher than a shared footpath and cycleway. Would love if an engineer could confirm that, anyone?

      On a related note, I’ve often wondered how hard it would be to pile new foundations either side of the existing ones, underneath the clip ons. The you could replace the clip on with much heavier structures that might support transit and all sorts of things.

      1. Yeah, I’ve always wondered the same and, importantly, whether it would be cheaper than tunneling across to the Shore.

      2. From an engineering viewpoint I think NZTA have demonstrated that the existing harbour bridge support structure could easily be modified. To cope with significant additional loading, static or dynamic.
        Look at the image of the proposed increased load bearing cantilevered top to those central piers. That’s doubling the pier top surface area.
        The proposed design is now a proper strong steel structure with no limit on people numbers using it. I could easily see many hundreds on this at any time. In fine weather large tour company sight seeing groups concentrated on those widened view bays, hundreds of wheeled users too. Even in peak commuter times hundreds of bikescootskate active and electric modes.
        So loading for a two to three hundred pax LR vehicle could be surpassed.
        All for about $100m. That would be a bargain for a single LR line over the bridge. Spend $200m and do both.

    2. one reason it’s on the Eastern side is that it provides a nicer view looking back at the city, harbour mouth, maunga and Rangitoto, rather than the brackish estuary of the upper harbour.

      If the skypath is being built as a recreational/tourist attraction, this is a non-trivial matter. Not to mention, all things being equal, if we can make our infrastructure more pleasant, why shouldn’t we?

      1. If a primary function is to be viewing destination rather then just an active mode harbour crossing then the city side is the best option. What about a separate viewing platform for tourists on top of the bridge city side then have the crossing only on the upper harbour side? Some lifts or weird escalators from western pathway to up and over the top to a big view platform? Another $50m 🙂 to do the view platform

    3. It would be easier to close two lanes to traffic and run light rail on them instead. The old truss bridge in the middle was designed to cope with a convoy of main battle tanks heading north to fight the soviets so it could cope with pretty much anything.

      1. Sure. With $100m for this independent walk/cycle bridge I don’t understand why the GA Light rail rightfighters are not all over the opportunity to have an LR line for same cost over the harbour using the same cantilever design on existing supports

        1. Because you’re slap dash single track idea is impossible (it can’t handle the weight), ineffective (single track of that length would mean a 20 minute headway each way) and your cost is a vast underestimate.

          Adding LR to the harbour bridge has been evaluated thoroughly and costed. The technically feasible option is what Miffy describes, running light rail on the central truss bridge. However closing two lanes is insufficient as they are only 3m each, you actually need to close all four in the middle to fit two tracks and the required clearance either side. Well you can squeeze in a narrow cycleway or footpath, but not even one traffic lane with the required dimensions and barrier.

          And quite frankly if we can’t even manage to have one tidal bus lane do you think they’ll take four lanes permanently off SH1?

          1. There you go again Nick. Insult the idea – slap dash, then make completely unfounded statement that it can’t handle the weight, then make up worst case timing because you don’t understand the concept of headway, then finally fall back on the old chestnut excuse that cost is vastly underestimated despite the NZTA stated fact that the identical new bridge for active modes is $100m.
            Rather than slamming into this suggestion with maximum negativity why not look at how light rail could use such a bridge. Single line over the bridge section does not condemn the rest of the route to single line.
            I’m nevertheless rather gobsmacked that I am making suggestion to progress NS LR yet you completely oppose the even remote possibility of LR over the harbour bridge.
            Btw, previous studies and costing of LR over the bridge are irrevelant since NZTA have come up with this new plan to construct additional bridge clip on using cantilevered supports onto existing bridge supports. Haven’t seen that in previous studies.

          2. Sorry Nick, just realised I’m actually arguing for LR when really I should be passively opposing all LR and promoting proper HR metro solutions for Auckland. So I will agree with you, no LR over harbour bridge new clip on, silly idea, just future shift NS LR in future decades which looks like the current plan anyway. 🙂

          3. It makes sense that a walking and cycling path could be supported over the long spans between supports but that the larger loads of light rail would be a completely different proposition, Bogle.

            I for one am disappointed to read Nick’s reasons for why the central lanes can’t be used, and they don’t appear to me that he’s “slamming into this suggestion with maximum negativity” but giving a reasoned reply. If the political-economic situation goes south more quickly with climate change than people are predicting – but not to complete disaster – it may be that using the centre lanes for LR are the best way to increase capacity without having to put another crossing over the harbour.

            Do you think we can ramp up political acceptance of reallocating road lanes to public transport, Bogle? I certainly want to. But I wouldn’t imagine these four lanes would be the place to start.

          4. Heidi, you are right as usual. I made the LR clip on suggestion because we both know there is absolutely no chance that existing road lanes on the bridge would be reallocated to LR or even busway use.
            Anyway, pointless me pressing the point. Apologies for suggesting this LR clip on. Insanity.

          5. I see no advantage in trying squeeze rail over this road bridge. It’s doing a whole lot of heavy lifting as it is. Adding the Active mode on this stunning design is a spectacular enough upgrade; a redemption to its monomaniacal design, if you will.

            The opportunity to design it for rail was not taken in the 1950s, so be it. The time is certainly at hand for a high capacity Transit crossing now ; it wasn’t then, if it had been included it would have shaped development in a better way, but it certainly wouldn’t have had an immediate task as it will now.

            No, now is the time to do it properly. Leave the road crossing to do its specialised task, with the added walking and cycling, and add the equally specialised Transit crossing on an optimised alignment with an optimised design. We’re passed cobbling together number 8 farm shed work-rounds in this city of 1.8m and rising….

            We need all those road lanes still, and the Rapid Transit line will have to be two track, at the minimum. And will more than justify its capital cost if designed as well and as ambitiously as this work above… I’m liking the look of this new multi-modal nzta…

          6. Bogle, it’s not unfounded, as I said initially the clip on LR option was evaluated in the NS study and is not possible. Note that a footbridge being possible does not mean the same structure can carry a railway. There are a lot of foot and cycle bridges out there that can’t carry a railway.

            As for headway, what you are proposing is 2km of single track on a 6.5% grade, requiring track switches and signal controls at either side. Ok sure the total transit time between signal changes might get down to seven or eight minutes, so maybe you’ll manage a 14 to 16 minute frequency rather than 20. But it’s not going to be anything close to the 2 to 3 minutes in both directions that is required.

          7. Maybe a different way to look at the frequency possible for a light rail system hung off the side of the bridge is that even at 20 minutes it’s got to be a better way of moving a large number of people, plus the frequency could be lowered if we were to consider that during the peak periods, and given sufficient rail set, we could run several services in one direction and then bring them back as coupled set say once an hour.
            Also it would give an initial Light Rail service to the shore which we can then supplement at a later date with the proposed tunnel.
            Provided a cantilevered single rail could be added then in the best traditions Auckland we can have a half system, which would in fact be better than no system and would also show that an enlarged capacity is needed and be forced to be built.

          8. Whilst a future upgrade of the northern busway to rail, light or heavy, with or without tracks is inevitable, the addition of skypath reduces the options.
            The rail?way would need to be to the east of bridge to avoid two crossings of the existing bridge traffic. A new bridge smack in the way of the view from the skypath? I think not. So this favours a tunnel.
            A railway only crossing would require only a relatively small bore double track tunnel, and compared to any tunnel carrying motorised traffic, much reduced ventilation and fire suppression.
            The robustness and reliability of steel wheels on steel track favours this technology over any proprietary trackless system.

          9. Robert, I think you got the right idea. If I were a proponent of LR to NS then I would think the same. A single LR on a new clip on over the harbour bridge would be a start. Not ideal but a first building block. Despite difficulty in envisioning a running pattern I would not abandon the idea based on unproven reckons.
            Sure there are better LR harbour crossing schemes BUT these are likely $billions whereas NZTA estimate $100m. Even if we double that cos it’s LR it would still be a bargain for an LR clipon. And just a few years to construct instead of decades for tunnel/new bridge.
            Then again since I’m not an LR proponent I’d agree this active modes SkyPath is way more important than even considering an LR over the bridge. God forbid any bad thinking such as placing SkyPath on Western side of bridge – pedestrian/tourists views are terrible, so that eastern side could have Light rail clipon. Obviously viewing from east side platforms is way way more urgent and important than even daring to think about any possibility of light rail to provide some measure of NS commuter relief. That’s how it should be 🙂

  4. Not seeing much about shelter or how it compares to Skypath in that regard.

    Please don’t tell me we’re designing a clip-on with no wind protection and that can only be used on sunny days? Transport planners seem to think it’s always sunny in Auckland and as a result, some places are downright miserable when it isn’t.

    1. Yes even our iconic parks can be downright miserable in bad weather. But you are not advocating for them to be enclosed too are you?

      1. Eh? A cycleway on a bridge is a bit different to the Auckland Domain. I’d rather be covered from rain cycling to work every day, that said just the ability to cycle to work is enough at this point.

    2. Overhead shelter is a luxury, not like many other footpaths or cycleways have it. Yet people still walk and cycle on them. On the other hand it’d be really nice to have (including on sunny days so it’s not too hot).

      Wind protection is very important as a matter of safety. Getting blown sideways off a bike is a serious hazard. Hard to see how designers could avoid addressing this, given modern liability standards for safety in design.

      1. Can’t quite tell from the pictures, but it looks as though it will have either a glass balustrade along the seaward side, or no balustrade at all…. which would be quite exciting. I presume that there is a lot of design development to go on there yet! (plus: glass balustrade would take a lot of cleaning, inside and out).

        Of course, what the safety nazis would like is a 2m high non-climbable fence all the way along, for ultimate safety sake. What the users would like is something they can look through / over. Will be interesting to see what the end result is…

        1. It’s inevitable it will end up with some sort of unclimable protection. The key will be designing it in the most unobtrusive way possible, they Sydney Harbour Bridge has a fence but is still an enjoyable walk on a nice day.

          I’d prefer a steel grille like the initial Skypath proposal, narrow enough so someone can’t get through but wide enough the view still appears to be clear. As a photographer I’m not a fan of glass balustrades as they are never perfectly clear.

          1. The worst thing about the Sydney bridge walk is the traffic noise and fumes, though it’s still a great experience… even if I have only a short amount of time between commitments when there, I squeeze in a train ride to Milsons Pt Station, the one just over the bridge on the Shore, then walk back across on the east side (west is bikes only) to the city. Fabulous. Especially good on a sunny morning, or, best of all, at dusk… especially as it would be rude not then end up at Benelong, the bar in the Opera House….

      1. Rain is way worse than snow and the Harbour Bridge is about 75% longer in exposed distance than any of the primary walking/cycling East River bridges. All but the Brooklyn Bridge, which is annoying to ride over because of tourists, are pretty well protected thanks to their designs. Manhattan and QBX are almost completely enclosed by structure and protected by lanes and trains. The WBG is above, but caged in and there are lots of steel structural elements around, which does a lot to mitigate wind.
        That said, overhead coverage is still a nice to have. Getting the crossing at all is essential.

        1. Have you cycled in snow in a city? It is not fun and I will take Auckland rain any day. Especially when the snow compacts into ice and you are slipping and sliding.

          1. I loved cycling to work in London snow while half the office failed to make it in. There’s rarely ice as the authorities keep the roads clear if that, though the sheet ice was very tricky on the little mews that I lived on which didn’t get cleared.

          2. London snow isn’t often or very much. Continual snow is a completely different matter. Ice is even worse.

    3. It’s hard to see but it appears to have a roof in the pictures. I know there is a top down view that doesn’t, but presumably that is just to show movement of people within.

      1. Don’t think that’s a roof, I looks to be the line of the top of the side barrier. Presumably it’s a clear glass type panel system like on the pink path.

    4. I’m pleased it is now going to be open air. The initial design would have had it completely loosing the sun by late morning and would have had a much more restricted view. Most large bridges around the world that can be walked across are open air.

      Sure it wont be as pleasant on a wet day, but even with the old design you would have got wet walking/riding to and from the bridge anyway.

  5. The new design looks stunning, and almost makes the extra two/three or so years we have had to wait worth it. Now just hurry up and consent + build the damn thing!

  6. Love the design and can’t wait for it to be built. I just wondered, on the northern side , how it links to the existing or planned walk/cycle infrastructure which I thought was going to be on the west side of the motorway not the East.

  7. To me it raises an interesting question.
    If they can cantilever this walkway out from the original piles so that the structure can carry the weight of many many people walking and cycling over it. Can they do the same on the other side and finally, and cheaply, enable (light) rail to travel from Auckland CBD to the North Shore.
    Be interested to get informed opinions on this, and if it’s considered possible then should we be pushing to make a start on designing and consenting for it to happen.

    1. Rail has substantially higher dead loads (the structure and tracks) and live loads (eg trains and people) than a walkway. I would be surprised if there is adequate capacity to add a light rail line as well.

  8. The Skypath renders all had it enclosed, but that’s not clear from the renders of the new structure. The bridge gets 100kph winds regularly, when the same winds are less than half that at ground level, so I would hope it is covered. A wind barrier only won’t give much protection from wind-assisted rain or hail. I get the path won’t be covered either side of the bridge, but as I say the winds up the top are much more powerful.

    Also, will road passengers (including single level buses and the lower level of double deckers) still have that view, if the new structure is built at deck level?

    1. The harbour bridge does not get 100kmh winds regularly. It gets them for a few hours on a few days a year, often at night in the winter, this would account for a fraction of 1 % of the year. The solution would be to close Skypath if it is not safe during these times, if it is safe but not pleasant just let people make their own decision.

      1. Depends if your benchmark for a success is a path that people aren’t blown off or a path that isn’t unpleasant to use every time it gets up around 50kmh up top or rain sheets in, which is far more often.

        1. Even 50kmh winds on the harbour bridge only occur for a relatively small proportion of the time. It’s a bit of a myth that winds are significantly stronger at the top of the bridge than in other open places at ground level. Yes, it will be windier than a sheltered suburban street but its a bridge.

          The previous design would have been a bleak place outside of summer, with no sun and the wind if not as strong no doubt still permeating through.

          1. Call me cynical, Jezza, but I reckon the conditions in the middle of the harbour bridge require shelter to make the most of the investment.

          2. Looking at the second image it might be sitting a couple of metres below the road deck, which will make a difference for wind and also road noise.

            I’m just glad it is not going to be closed in as it will be a much more appealing crossing on the majority of days.

            Incidentally there is an announcement today on the Petone to Wellington shared path, which is expected to cost $76 – 94 million. This is a significant investment with no shelter at all in a much windier climate. I doubt there will be single comment made about this lack of shelter.

          3. jezza – Petone “Great Harbour Way” is made of rocks, thrown into the sea. Rather unsophisticated by comparison with this sleek, self-supporting, floating steel structure.

            I’m still not convinced that the SeaPath structure can work, supported only off the piers and not grabbing hold of the bridge. Essentially then it is an arch, long and low and with a very low height to length ratio. The last bridge that tried that was the Millennium Bridge in London (super-low-profile suspension bridge), and look at how that ended up…. closed on the very first day. The engineers are going to have to really earn their keep on this one!

          4. And check out the negative comments on the Petone – Ngauranga path, entitled motorists wanting more traffic lanes and motorway interchanges instead. Is that the real public opinion or do Hoskings followers just make more noise?

          5. Guy – I can’t comment on the engineering side, except to say that from what I have read this was a new phenomena with the Millennium Bridge, hopefully engineers are much more aware of it now.

            My comment was purely around two footpaths being proposed that both bridge gaps that were up until now just a road and both uncovered. For some reason the fact that one of them is uncovered seems to be a major concern.

          6. “Even 50kmh winds on the harbour bridge only occur for a relatively small proportion of the time”

            Maybe as a percentage of the entire year, but Metservice issue wind warnings at 25 knots which is 47 kph and as a yachtie I know that they are very regular even for the inner harbour

  9. It is a clip-on on a clip-on on an original bridge. If this was done in the first place, we would never have this problem.

    Hopefully we will start do a future proofing design from now on.

    1. Hopefully the approach taken with the CRL to spend the extra money now means Auckland has learned that lesson and cheap now is rarely if ever good.

  10. Unfathomable that they couldn’t have put out some sort of press release earlier to say ‘don’t worry, we’re working on it, new pictures out soon’

    And, does this mean vector need to redo all their lights?

  11. If the walkway is uncovered and below the road deck, will it cop spray from passing cars and trucks?

    Will be interesting to see closer renders including all the security railing that will be required, and the Northcote ground connection detail.

  12. This is a real step forward in getting a walking/Cycling path across the bridge. You can really see the difference that having professionals involved has made.
    The ‘Skypath Trust’ design was full of flaws, probably because it was stakeholder profit driven. Now that NZTA is running the project, an entirely new design, based on sound engineering principles have been applied. It was good also to have NZTA exonerated of any wrong doings with its dealings with the Skypath Trust, with the independent investigator reporting that there was never an agreement between NZTA and SPT to buy or use Skypath IP.
    I imagine that the northern landing will be taken all the way down to Sulfur Beach, where it will connect to Seapath. A mild detour for anyone at the very southern tip of the point, but much better for most of the North Shore users.
    This will probably mean compulsory purchase of a few houses on Northcote Point, but the cost will be more than offset by a cheaper solution to connecting to Seapath and not having to build that monstrosity of northern landing, that Skypath had designed.
    Hopefully the local residents will accept this outcome through fair compensation and not delay the project further.

    1. Well if only someone in NZTA had the vision to imagine something. It needed a citizen initiative to show the engineers what is possible and make them think about it.

      A bit less rote learning and a bit more creative training is vital for all professions going forward. I reckon “innovator” will be the most important job description in 20 years.

    2. If the government had any sort of foresight, then SPT wouldn’t have had to design a profit driven option. So basically the lack of a walking path is a failure by the “professionals” at NZTA, not something to be proud of, but at least they have finally come around to doing the right thing. Designing and building to a low price to create the Skypath for return on investment means that trade-offs had to be made. Professionals were involved in the design and to suggest otherwise is insulting to those that were involved.
      NZTA were talking of using SPT’s design. In any normal course of engineering and construction, if you use someone’s design you pay for it. NZTA were trying to get something for nothing, this is a disgusting business practice. Their decision to create a much better and more expensive option, is a better choice for Auckland. However, they should have communicated with greater clarity with both SPT and the public. This is a learning opportunity for NZTA, and one from which I hope that they do actually learn.

    3. agreed, I think it will be fantastic to be able to walk and cycle over the bridge and to hopefully have it connect to the seapath will be awesome. If they do CPO some of the existing houses then they could open the whole thing up and create a great point type park with some fantastic views of the city.

    4. Looking at the independent investigation raises more questions for me, actually. Its scope didn’t include two key details – whether NZTA has infringed on any IP rights held by the SkyPath Trust, and the degree of familiarity that NZTA has with the design of the SkyPath.

      Whether intentional or not, this does play to the public’s fuzzy understanding of IP law. IP law isn’t about whether there was an agreement to use or buy IP. If they use it, they have to pay. No agreement required. What we don’t want to see is NZTA having to modify their designs to avoid possibly using Skypath’s IP.

    5. Me thinks Daniel works at NZTA…

      The original design was not done by the Trust, but by third party “professionals”. And it did not have flaws. It had a solution that cost $20m less than NZTA’s.

      I’m sure if money was not the issue and they knew they had a budget of $20m extra, their design would have been enhanced too.

    6. “there was never an agreement between NZTA and SPT to buy or use Skypath IP”

      The national Party never had an agreement to use Eminem’s IP, they still had to pay for it.

  13. Since it looks like it has no protection from the weather unlike the previous design, will it be open in adverse weather conditions. I’d guess with the sort of weather the flags are lowered would also be far to dangerous for an open walkway on the bridge.

    It looks nice, which is a bonus.

    1. No weather protection? Tourists won’t be happy about that.
      Just thinking tourists this will hardly be suitable for most as you’d need to be pretty fit to walk the hill up the bridge, there goes all those cruise ship pax, retirees, unfit big spenders, children etc..
      So for these would a solution be a golf buggy train to deliver them to the viewing platforms and if wet and/or windy then they stay in it and gaze out. Bettered a small rail system, say 2 foot gauge which could just run slowly past the view platforms. Completely enclosed glass windows roof to enhance viewing. Or bettered still a lightweight light rail that would deliver commuters in peak times and shoulders then revert to slowly creeping mode for tourists and harbour viewers. If not enough room then put cycle lane on other side of bridge as they don’t have sightseeing view requirement.

      1. Jumped the shark in that reply haven’t you Mike. It will be modified after the first few people jump off it.

          1. It is a bit disconcerting sailing under the bridge to hear a scream from aft. Not somebody falling off the back of your boat but somebody jumping off the bridge hanging from an oversize rubber band.

  14. What do you do in an emergency? Are there some slides that take you down to the Waitemata harbour or something?

    1. Um… walk to the end that is opposite the emergency? Seriously, there are plenty of bridges that are longer than this that don’t have any other emergency exits.

      1. A useless bit of information I remember from when the bridge was being built.
        If you were to drop a three penny piece from the top of the bridge it would drill a 1/2 hole in a piece of steel at the water level.

        1. …if you removed the earths atmosphere first.

          Otherwise air friction means a coin that size would hit terminal velocity in the first ten metres or so.

          1. I suspect it would speed-up and slow-down, as it oscillated during its plunge between falling edgewise and then face-on. Edgeways it could potentially fall very fast, but each time it started to assume this attitude a little turbulence would flip it round to face the airflow and slow it right down again. If it hit you on your bald head during an edgeways plummet you might feel an uncomfortable ‘thwack’ as with an average hailstone. If it hit you falling facewards or if you had any amount of hair, you might just mistake it for a bird-poop. Heads or tails.

  15. Great to see this come out & looks to be an improvement. I was quietly suspecting this was the case but it was buried under a bureaucratic nightmare of process. I’m hoping noise from the bridge general traffic will be minimal.

  16. The original composite design had an important advantage in terms of life cycle costings in addition to a vastly reduced mass.
    In this exposed salty environment maintaining the existing steel Harbour bridge requires content painting along with periodic major resurfacing events.
    The new steel design bridge will need a whole new external access system to facilitate this painting whereas the composite design utilised the existing system for any inspection required – painting is only required once UV degrades the paint, a simple wash and paint can be reapplied.

    In the future more and more bridges will be designed and built with composites as their light weight and low life cycle costs are compelling in any serious cost benefit analysis.
    Its a shame given New Zealand has a niche expertise in high tech composites that projects to develop and expand the industry are not more forthcoming.
    The existing steel industry and steel engineers are presumably not to interested in this competition but it is clear that NZ needs more options in building infrastructure as we struggle with capacity.
    Any serious review of life cycle costs makes a compelling case for composites in light weighting and rust proofing our structures, especially over salt water.

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