Latest progress on SkyPath proposal

Last Updated : 18 Oct 2016
SkyPath internal visualisation
Image credit: Buildmedia

As Auckland’s walking and cycling network continues to expand, a significant project aims to bridge the gap between central Auckland and the North Shore.

Here’s what you need to know about the proposed SkyPath.

What is SkyPath?

SkyPath is a proposal by the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Trust to construct a combined pedestrian and cycle pathway across the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

The project would complete a critical gap in Auckland’s walking and cycling network. It is proposed to be 4m wide (and 6m wide at the five viewing platforms) and fixed to the eastern clip-on lane of the bridge.

It would be accessed via Northcote Point at the northern end of the bridge, and Westhaven in the south.

When will it be built?

The project was granted resource consent in July 2015. This was appealed by three parties to the Environment Court in August 2015. The parties will take part in mediation in early December. A construction timeframe cannot be confirmed until the appeal process is complete.

Who is paying for it?

The proposal is that the project would be privately financed, with all the costs being met by admission fees.

The Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Trust sought a private sector partner to fund the construction and received an initial offer from Morrison & Co’s Public Infrastructure Partnership Fund (PIP Fund).

Auckland Council has contributed $175,000 of funding to provide information to aid council decision-making, which was approved by council’s Finance and Performance Committee in March 2014.

Of this, $85,000 was granted to the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Trust to cover some costs of preparing reports and assessments that were needed for consultation prior to lodging its resource consent application. These were of interest to the council group and the public – for example, reports on noise and other effects.

How else is Auckland Council involved?

The council supports the SkyPath concept because it is an essential missing part of Auckland’s walking and cycling network which has great potential as a visitor attraction.

Under the current proposal, Auckland Council's involvement would be limited to a partial underwrite of the admission charge revenue, and assumption of ownership rights and obligations at the end of a concession period.

A business case will be presented to the council's Governing Body in early 2016 to enable councillors to make a decision whether to enter into a commercial arrangement on this project.

Are any other organisations involved?

Aside from the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Trust, its funding partner and Auckland Council, the New Zealand Transport Agency is also involved. The agency owns the Auckland Harbour Bridge and would grant a licence to occupy for SkyPath to be attached to the bridge.

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