Auckland's newest waterfront link - the Jacobs Ladder footbridge spanning State Highway 1 near the Victoria Park tunnel - will be officially opened by the NZ Transport Agency on Saturday, 15 December, in time for the Christmas holidays.
The covered walkway will provide access for walkers and cyclists between St Marys Bay and the Westhaven Marina across eight lanes of motorway near the tunnel’s northern exit.
The NZTA’s acting State Highways manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton, says having the footbridge opened in time for Christmas is a perfect way of saying thank you to the community for the support it has shown throughout the construction of the footbridge and the rest of the Victoria Park Tunnel project.
"It is fantastic news, and our team have worked hard to ensure this historic link between St Marys Bay and the harbour has been restored – especially in time for Christmas," Mr Mutton says.
Construction on the $7.9m Jacobs Ladder Footbridge was stopped last January after fine lines known as crazing were found in 11 of the 306 acrylic panels used to clad the footbridge.
Mr Mutton says exhaustive tests conducted during the year established that the crazing was caused by an interaction between the adhesive used to fasten artfilm – which gives the footbridge its distinctive appearance as a traditional Maori fishnet – to the acrylic panels.
"We do know that the crazing is confined to a small number of the panels, it has not deteriorated in the past 10 months, and tests show that the panels have retained their strength. Testing confirms that there is no safety risk to either pedestrians or cyclists using the footbridge, or to drivers on State Highway 1."
The NZTA resumed construction of the footbridge in October.
Last week, Auckland Mayor Len Brown, helped put in place the last of the panels on the footbridge. Final works, including a safety audit, are now underway before the bridge is opened to the public on 15 December.
The Jacobs Ladder Footbridge brings to a close the $340m Victoria Park Tunnel project – the first of the Government’s roads of national significance to be completed. The key features of the project include the construction of a three lane motorway tunnel, the reconfiguring of the Victoria Park viaduct, and the widening of the SH1 motorway through St Marys Bay to provide more reliable journey times and improved safety through central Auckland. The project also improved access through St Marys Bay for walkers and cyclists, and included the replacement of Jacobs Ladder on the steep St Marys Bay cliffs and construction of the footbridge.
"The motorway section of this project has been a huge success, and we now hope cyclists and walkers will get the same value from the restoration of this traditional link to the Waitemata harbour," says Mr Mutton.
Preparations are underway for an official opening on 15 December which will include the community.