The Government has abandoned the beleaguered Northern Pathway bridge across Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour.
The July edition of InfraRead ran an opinion piece on this ill-conceived vanity project and we, along with others who opposed the proposal, are pleased the Government has listened and has decided to instead reallocate the funding to other transport projects that reduce emissions and congestion including bringing forward the Eastern Busway, which will achieve similar objectives to the bridge of reducing emissions and congestion.
Another project the Government wants to bring forward to give East Aucklanders more choices is a 1.9km link between Glen Innes and Panmure to connect the new Eastern Busway cycleway with the Glen Innes to Tamaki cycleway. Additional work will occur in the near future to identify other key links in the Auckland strategic cycling network that can be delivered.
Work will continue on a public transport-led second Waitematā Harbour crossing. $60 million was allocated in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project earlier this year for planning work and property acquisition to occur.
Transport Minister Hon Michael Wood has said the Seapath cycleway project will continue, with some redesign at the Harbour Bridge end. The Government will run a short process to investigate lower cost options to create a connection for walking and cycling across the Waitematā Harbour before the additional harbour crossing is built.
Minister Wood conceded that the Northern Pathway bridge did not get the public support needed for a project of its scale.
And therein lies a key characteristic that has come to define Minister Wood:
- from establishing a select committee inquiry so everyone could have a say into congestion pricing in Auckland, to
- making a fresh start for Auckland light rail to draw a line under the disquiet that surrounded previous ideas for the project and listen to Aucklanders about what sort of light rail system they want, to
- declining a tolling proposal from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for the new Ara Tūhono – Puhoi to Warkworth motorway north of Auckland due to 80 percent of the affected community opposing it.
Minister Wood continuously seeks public buy-in into major projects and policies and actively takes into consideration the feedback that is provided.
Perhaps credit is due to his prior local government experience. Whatever it may be, there is some comfort to be had in knowing we have a transport minister who is interested in the opinions of those inside and outside the proverbial tent.