Government scraps plans for controversial cycle bridge across Auckland harbour

Auckland harbour bridge
Auckland harbour bridge Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

The Government has decided against building a $785 million cycle bridge across Auckland's Harbour after strong public pressure against the idea. 

In a Newshub Reid Research poll in early August, 81.7 percent of respondents said they did not support the crossing and only 11.9 percent said they did. 

Transport Minister Michael Wood has said the funds will be now used for bringing forward projects such as the $1.4 billion Eastern Busway, according to NZ Herald. 

 "It did not get the public support needed for a project of its scale, and we acknowledge that."

The Transport Minister will now look at short-term options for cyclists and walkers crossing the harbour and indicated they could include dedicated bike ferries or buses linking to cycleways on either side. 

The Seapath cycleway project on the North Shore leading to the bridge would continue, but would be re-designed, the NZ Herald reported  

Wood did rule out permanently allocating a lane of the bridge for cycles and pedestrians, but has written to Waka Kotahi to show his support for a trial over the quieter summer months, if it was safe. 

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomed the development and the reallocation of the funding to projects of higher importance. 

"This infrastructure is critical in bringing rapid public transit to our eastern suburbs and giving people the choice of a fast and reliable service." 

A 1.9 km link to connect the new Eastern Busway cycleway to the Tamaki cycleway would also be brought forward, and other cycling links improved. 

Ashburton will benefit from the scrapping of the cycle bridge with $2 million going to Ashburton Rail Hub - a $14 million project to treble freight capacity in the region. 

The rest of the money would be allocated over the next few months.