Work on the much-anticipated walking and cycling connection between Auckland’s Westhaven and the North Shore is progressing well, with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and SkyPath Trust reaching an agreement which will expedite the planning and construction of the walking and cycling connection.
The new walking and cycling link will form a critical part of the Auckland Cycle Network.
The link, between Westhaven and the North Shore will include connections at Northcote and Takapuna, giving people the choice of crossing the Waitematā Harbour on foot and on bikes.
The Transport Agency has now reached an agreement to purchase the Intellectual Property (IP) for the SkyPath design for $1.8m which will help progress the planning and construction start for the project, and build on the public support for the project.
The design, which was commissioned by the SkyPath Trust, was granted consent in 2015. The consents are now held by Auckland Council. The Transport Agency is in the process of varying the design for the engineering of the path over the harbour to enhance the customer experience, such as increasing the width of the path from four metres wide to five metres wide.
The Transport Agency’s Project Director Jennifer Hart says the Transport Agency is very pleased to be able to build on the great work already done by the SkyPath Trust and its design team, which lays the foundation for the planning.
“We know Aucklanders want to be able to cross the harbour on foot and by bike as soon as possible and we believe the best way to do this is to vary the resource consents currently owned by Auckland Council. We can alter the consents more easily if we own the intellectual property for the SkyPath design.”
“The Trust and their consultants did a huge amount of work and paved the way for this incredible path to be built for the benefit of all Aucklanders and visitors to the city.”
The Trust will use the funds to reimburse its consultants and advisors who have worked on the project on a deferred fees basis over the last 10 years.
SkyPath Trust will support Auckland Council in transferring the SkyPath resource consents to the Transport Agency which will allow the Transport Agency to make its applications to alter the existing consents.
Chair of the SkyPath Trust Christine Rose says "the Trust is excited to see work on the link progressing and very pleased that the Transport Agency is becoming the kaitiaki of the walking and cycling link, a vital and transformational project for Auckland. The Trust is also delighted to see our consultants and advisors reimbursed. There was no certainty they would get paid hence they have made a remarkable commitment over the last 10 years.”
As part of the agreement, SkyPath Trust will change its name to MOVEMENT and focus on improving walking and cycling nationally.
Geotechnical investigations have started in the project area to provide further information as part of the necessary planning and technical work.
Early next year the Transport Agency will be talking to the community about the urban design and wider landscape principles for the link between Westhaven and Takapuna and engaging with partners, stakeholders and the community about the design and the look and feel of the new connection.
Depending on the outcomes of the consenting process, the soonest construction could begin is with enabling works at the end of 2020. It is expected to take about two and a half years to complete the link, providing a seamless connection between the southern side of the harbour and the North Shore.
For more information on the project, please visit: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/auckland-harbour-bridge-shared-path/
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