Have you seen Skypath mentioned in the media but aren’t sure what it is? Read on to fin out about this exciting project!
The SkyPath project started as a community initiative all the way back in 2004. It is set to create a shared pathway for pedestrians and cyclists along the city-side of Auckland Harbour Bridge. Quite literally a path in the sky - the 4 metre wide semi-enclosed pathway is set to be delivered by 2021 and will provide safe, toll-free access for commuters, tourists, and recreational users.
SkyPath has recently secured up to $30 million in Government funding as part of a $390 million package for walking and cycling initiatives across the country.
Where is it?
At the north end, Skypath will connect at Northcote Point and will have three different points of access:
a connection to the Queen Street ferry and bus terminal;
access from Princes Street;
the “SeaPath” connection – a proposed walking/cycling route linking Northcote Point to Takapuna.
At the south end, Westhaven will host 4 access points:
Shelly Beach Road;
Westhaven walking and cycling promenade (connection to Wynyard Quarter).
How’s it being built?
How exactly do you build a walkway over the water? The SkyPath will be built in modules and made out of marine technology composite material. This material is strong, offers long service life with lower maintenance needs, and saves considerable weight when compared to traditional steel structures. The modules will be built offsite and assembled at the SkyPath location at night, to reduce the potential traffic disruption.
There will also be 6 observational decks placed along the structural piers, offering impressive views of the water and city.
But whats the value in Skypath?
The SkyPath will have a lot of positive impacts for Auckland communities.
Less congestion - In a city where walking and cycling have been long-neglected modes of transport, it offers a practical and innovative solution to traffic congestion. The project estimates that it will have the same effect as adding an extra lane to the bridge during rush hour traffic. The SkyPath is being kept free-to-use to ensure maximum uptake and effectiveness.
Easier access – As well as making the connection to the city easier for the weekday 9-5, SkyPath will also create easier access to the beach and shopping at North Shore.
Reduction in greenhouse gases –SkyPath is a commitment to alternative and more environmentally conscious transport. It will reduce the amount of vehicle emissions and aligns with the Government responsibilities under the Paris Accord on Climate Change.
Economic benefits – SkyPath provides an opportunity to bring more money into the Auckland region. Tourism-related business will reap the rewards of this new resource, with tourists visiting and perhaps staying longer to experience SkyPath. It also offers a helping hand to Auckland commuters who will have a completely free alternative to getting to and from work each day. They will no longer be solely dependent on public transport or personal vehicles.
Enhance existing facilities –Skypath will connect to existing pathways at Wynyard Quarter, effectively utilising current structures and making them more successful.
Creating a case for change – The implementation of SkyPath will hopefully encourage similar future projects to further the network of safe and accessible walking and cycling paths around Auckland.
Resource consent Pathways
As you could expect, skypath is a complicated project and followed the more complex resource consent process. The application was publicly notified and 11, 586 submissions received. 168 of these were in opposition. The application was approved by the Council, and following an Environment Court appeal, approved by that Court also.
We can’t wait to see it up and running, it will be an exciting and purposeful addition to our beautiful city!
Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.