Future of Auckland's SkyPath hanging in the balance over intellectual property dispute

It's been in the making for a decade, but now the future of Auckland's SkyPath is hanging in the balance.

The trust that designed the path has told the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) that if it doesn't pay for the intellectual property it owns, the project might not go ahead.

The kilometre-long pedestrian and cycle path alongside the Harbour Bridge would allow Aucklanders to move between Westhaven and Northcote Point, a link that's been missing for more than 60 years - but now its future is uncertain.

"It's crazy, I've been there for 12 years working on this and I thought we were getting across but it looks as though we're not," SkyPath trustee Andy Smith told Newshub.

"NZTA have said they're going to reconsider everything."

The SkyPath Trust says the NZTA isn't sticking to its agreement to pay for the intellectual property rights to the design, costing a total of less than $2m.

"For all the work the engineers, the architects, the designers that have come up with this, it's been a huge investment," Mr Smith says. "What's stopping them?"

The NZTA released a statement saying it's been looking at a number of design options, but needs to do more work before it knows the right design to take forward.

It wants to get it right the first time, including the right width so more people can use it without restrictions, as well as the best materials to build the structure.

Jodi Johnston, spokesperson for the Campaign for Better Transport, says it would be "horrific" if SkyPath didn't go ahead.

"It's been 60 years since the bridge was opened and everyone said it should've had a footpath and cycle access. Before you know it, we're all grey and we're still waiting for a footpath across the Auckland Harbour."

Skypath Trust says it's time for NZTA to step up.

"Stick to your promises," Mr Smith says. "Deliver something. They're public servants, a little bit of serving would help."

On Tuesday afternoon the NZTA said it's willing to work through the intellectual property issue with the Trust to find a resolution.

The NZTA says construction could start at early as 2020, but it expects to have the business case finalised by the middle of the year.