The NZ Transport Agency says December's TelstraClear Challenge is an historic occasion for the Auckland Harbour Bridge that could develop into a permanent high profile cycling event for the city.
"We are aware of the interest from cyclists wanting to cross the bridge, and we're delighted that we are able to say 'yes" to a properly organised community event that has the added bonus of a ride on the busway as well," says the NZTA's Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town.
Mr Town joined the Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown, and other guests to celebrate the official launch of the first TelstraClear Challenge, which will be held on 11 December.
Mr Town says the event reflects the high standards of maintenance the NZTA applies to the bridge like the successful upgrade of the box girders completed last December, and the confidence the Transport Agency has with organisers to match the detailed preparation required for the Auckland Marathon on the bridge.
"The Auckland Harbour Bridge can carry 200,000 vehicles a day, and anything to do with it requires detailed and complex planning. The NZTA's approval came only after careful and deliberate consideration that the main function of the bridge as the strategic transport link for communities on both sides of the harbour is not compromised," he adds. .
The two outer southbound lanes of the bridge will be closed until mid-morning on the Sunday of the event so that cyclists starting from the Westhaven Marina can cross the harbour and join the Northern Busway. Organisers will have to have the lanes re-opened before traffic volumes increase in late morning.
"The NZTA hopes that if the cycle challenge is successful it will become an exciting addition to the city's calendar, just like the marathon, and enhance Auckland's reputation as an events capital," says Mr Town.