Q. How urgently do we need a new Waitemata Harbour Crossing?
A. No one has figured out exactly when another crossing will be required, but more capacity for vehicles is not an urgent priority. The New Zealand Transport Agency is currently working on the Western Ring Route, the purpose of which is to create a seamless motorway from Manukau to Albany. This is due to be operational by 2017, and the NZTA say this will reduce dependence on State Highway 1, particularly the Auckland Central Business District and Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Q. Isn’t the existing Auckland Harbour Bridge coming to the end of its design life though?
A. No. NZTA stated in evidence at the Skypath hearings that “The existing AHB “clip-on” lanes were strengthened by the NZTA in 2010. This work has considerably extended the life span of the clip-on lanes and consequently the NZTA expects the clip-on lanes to have an indefinite service life (e.g. the next 100 years) providing heavy freight movements are transferred to a new harbour crossing at a certain load trigger point.” Presumably the lifetime of the central span is also indefinite, providing that trucks movements are managed.
Q. Doesn’t the current designation process allow for rail at a later date?
A. Although artists impressions include a cavity which could be used for rail, there are no firm plans established. We know from past projects such as the Manukau Harbour Crossing and Te Irirangi Drive that such “future-proofing” for rail has little chance of eventuating.