Auckland's SkyPath takes off

Q&A with Bevan Woodward, project director for SkyPath, the shared walkway/cycleway proposed for the Auckland Harbour Bridge

 

Paperboy: SkyPath has resource consent now. How does that feel?

Bevan Woodward: It was a real surprise because I was under the expectation that it would take a couple of months to get the Environment Court decision. It took about five minutes. There’s a real sense of relief and excitement that we can get on with delivery.

What happens now?

We’re working with the funders and construction partner to agree on the delivery plan. I’m hopeful that this won’t be too drawn out, but time will tell.

This is being privately funded, isn’t it?

Yes. The Public Infrastructure Partnership Fund invests in Australasian projects with the public good in mind. They have a number of investors and are managed by a company called Morrison & Co. We’ll have a toll on SkyPath users: it was proposed at $2, but as the years have rolled by it’s probably closer to $3. Once it’s paid off – we estimate it will take 20 years – the toll is removed and the asset goes to Auckland Council.

How many people will use SkyPath?

That will vary according to the season or the day of the week. It will range from about 1000 trips a day on quieter winter weekdays, and then on peak summer days you could be looking at about 13,000 trips per day. But we will have limitations on the numbers allowed on SkyPath, due to either the loadings or for health and safety reasons. Actual capacity shouldn’t be a problem, because we estimate SkyPath to be able to handle throughput of up to 3000 people per hour.

When will it be operational?

I would say a year and a half, but I know it will take longer than that. We’ve talked a lot about how to construct it and we know what to do. The carbon-fibre modules are built offsite; there are about 80 modules to be slung over the side and clipped on. Concurrently we can build the landings at each end. It need not be a drawn-out project; however I’m beginning to see that doing it as a public-private partnership is a more complex undertaking.