Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Light rail on cards for new bridge

Waterfront Auckland wants $25 million replacement for three-year-old structure to keep up with development

The $3.7 million Te Wero drawbridge was built in 2011 to cater for Rugby World Cup visitors. Picture / Doug Sherring
The $3.7 million Te Wero drawbridge was built in 2011 to cater for Rugby World Cup visitors. Picture / Doug Sherring

Auckland Council is considering scrapping the $3.7 million three-year-old Te Wero bridge linking the Viaduct Harbour with Wynyard Quarter and building a $25 million replacement.

Waterfront Auckland believes a new bridge is needed to cope with residential and commercial development at Wynyard Quarter, including a $200 million five-star hotel on the Team New Zealand site in Halsey St, due to be finished in 2017.

The proposal comes as the council is making the biggest budget cuts in Auckland's history.

Mayor Len Brown is preparing to slash $4.4 billion of capital spending and $3.1 billion of running costs over the next 10 years, including an $800 million cut in spending on parks, swimming pools, libraries and other community facilities.

The 100m and 5m-wide Te Wero bridge for pedestrians and cyclists opened in August 2011 before the Rugby World Cup tournament as a temporary measure until a larger crossing could be built.

Waterfront Auckland chief executive John Dalzell yesterday said a larger bridge with provision for light rail was needed to cater for people going to and from new developments at Wynyard Quarter over the next three to five years, including the hotel and 800 apartments.

A new construction programme would start at the end of the year and it made sense to build the bridge in conjunction with work on the nearby hotel.

Mr Dalzell said the bridge had to be replaced so the council could maximise its return from Wynyard Quarter from new developments.

"If we don't put in the right infrastructure at the right time we won't receive an optimal uplift in land value and [the council] won't share in that."

Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer said the "hugely expensive gold-plated bridge" should be canned.

Five years ago, plans for a $47 million bridge had been scaled down to the existing drawbridge which had a lot of life ahead of it.

Mr Brewer said the council was spending too much on the waterfront and it was time for the commercial sector to make its investment.

Super-sized crossing
• $3.7m draw bridge built in 2011
• Waterfront Auckland proposing a bigger $25m crossing
• Council body says it is needed because of Wynyard Quarter growth
• Councillor Cameron Brewer calls it "gold-plated" and unnecessary

Readers' views


What do you think about the plan for a new bridge?

It's a good idea. It's a small bridge and a lot of people use it.
- Irfan Khan, central city

This bridge is fabulous. I don't think it's a good idea. There are much better priorities for funding.
- Bryan Shaw, Kingsland

It seems a bit strange wanting to replace it so quickly, but development at Wynyard Quarter is going to be so rapid.
- Tim Lawrence, Viaduct Basin

There is no need for light rail. It will ruin the peace and quiet of Wynyard Quarter. I'm sure the money could be better spent elsewhere.
- Jill St Lewis, Canada

I fully support it. We spend billions on transport, mostly on motorways. Light rail is the answer. Bring it on.
- Bevan Woodward, SkyPath

If that is what it takes to get trains running, then so be it.
- Michael Wallmannsberger, Freemans Bay

- NZ Herald

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