Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has provided more detail about its preferred option for the access ramp at Princes Street that will connect to the Northern Pathway shared walking and cycling path across the Waitematā Harbour.
The Princes St connection is one of the design refinements tabled by Waka Kotahi for public engagement until 19 April. There’s information on the project webpage(external link) and people can give feedback using Waka Kotahi’s online survey(external link) or email.
“We appreciate that people have a lot going on in their lives with the COVID-19 lockdown, but we’re also finding people want to talk to the project team and are asking for more information, so we want to share more of the detail where we can, as soon as it becomes available,” says Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Project Delivery Andrew Thackwray.
The walking and cycling link over the Auckland Harbour Bridge will be built as a continuous path at the same level as vehicles and will eventually connect all the way out to Albany, becoming the primary regional connection for walking and cycling and other active modes. It will connect to the city’s wider cycle and walking network, extending to communities east and west on both sides of the bridge served by the Tamaki Drive cycle route and the North-Western Cycleway, all the way to Westgate.
Mr Thackwray says the route of the pathway is now set, with preferred designs for the connections at Westhaven, Princes Street, Sulphur Beach, Onewa Road and Akoranga. On the northern side of the bridge, the pathway now follows an existing coastal route, with a walking and cycling bridge crossing the motorway to Stafford Road Reserven Northcote.
Waka Kotahi has released a paper that summarises the six options considered for the Princes Street off-ramp and the multi-criteria analysis used to assess the options.
“The preferred option is called the ‘zigzag’ option and involves the pathway extending from the Auckland Harbour Bridge and descending to Princes Street via a ramp that is 5.5 metres wide and on a 1:20 gradient. The path, the ramp, and the area needed to construct them require the purchase of six properties in Princes Street and use of a property already owned by the Crown.”
The zigzag was assessed as best meeting the project’s objectives of providing a direct and continuous pathway with local connections that is safe, accessible and efficient, while the larger footprint enables a more accessible gradient for the ramp.
“It should be noted that all options required the removal of a number of houses. As well as making room for the ramp, construction of it and the pathway requires a minimum 20 metre space alongside the bridge for machinery and construction access.”
Mr Thackwray says the project team knows from previous engagement sessions that people value safety and easy access to the pathway for all modes of transport.
“The zigzag option provides that. We’re confident that our proposed design will create a pathway that will serve generations of Aucklanders and visitors for years to come.”
The process of devising, analysing and assessing options is iterative for every project. For the Northern Pathway, this has been ongoing for the full route since last year and this work will be fully complete and documented by the time we lodge our Notices of Requirement and consent applications for the Westhaven to Akoranga section of the pathway. At this stage, we are anticipating this will be in mid-2020.
The report, released this week, records the assessment of the options for just the Northcote Point connection, in advance of the full documentation which in our programme is not due until mid-2020. We have provided it in this format to explain selection of the option for this connection that we are engaging on.
Mr Thackwray says it’s important to keep momentum going on the project as infrastructure will play a critical role in the economic recovery of New Zealand after COVID-19.
This $360 million section of the Northern Pathway project has been allocated funding as part of the Government’s $6.8 billion investment in the New Zealand Upgrade Programme for infrastructure projects across the country. The Northern Pathway project has been identified as one of the first five projects which can begin construction. In all, the projects will create 800 to 1,000 direct new jobs in our civil construction industry within the next 12 months.
Subject to the consenting/approvals process, construction is expected to begin in early 2021 and take around two and a half years.
The Princes Street options assessment is on our website at www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/projects/northern-pathway/docs/princes-street-connection-alternatives-report.pdf(external link)
For more on the Northern Pathway project and the consultation process, go to https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/northern-pathway/(external link) or email the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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