The damage to Auckland's Harbour Bridge once again exposes the underlying problems holding our biggest city back.
Yesterday Auckland commuters suffered long delays as the New Zealand Transport Agency worked to repair a strut on the bridge after truck crashes closed four lanes on Friday.
A crash on the North Shore tripled travel times for some commuters yesterday morning due to bridge lane closures. Both the bridge and western routes were busy and a ferry breakdown added to the frustration.
Permanent repairs will take weeks after two trucks were blown over by winds gusting up to 127km/h, damaging the bridge's superstructure.
The latest transport issues, coming after months of drought and previous problems with the power grid, point to Auckland's infrastructure not being robust enough.
There's a fine line between being a functional city and failing under extreme events but both foreseeable hurdles and potential surprises should be planned for.
Auckland has rarely been a poster child for great planning and striking vision. Projects take years to come to fruition if at all, and clear opportunities are frequently missed.
For every success, such as the Viaduct redevelopment, the Waterview Tunnel and the western cycleway into the centre, there are failures.
They include the ongoing sore spot of a rail link from the airport; a lack of pedestrianisation and beautification of Queen St; the inability to construct a bold sports stadium on the waterfront, when there was a tailor-made chance with the hosting of the Rugby World Cup; the inability to secure the city's ongoing water supply as climate change becomes more apparent.
The one bright side shining on our harbour bridge over troubled water is that the pandemic has already established the capacity for many office workers to operate remotely, which offers the chance to reduce traffic flows. NZTA said North Shore residents who usually work in the city should strongly consider working from home. Those who didn't heed that advice yesterday will have more incentive to heed it today.
As with the pandemic, it further illustrates the need for longer-term changes to the city with more transport and housing options, less traffic in the centre, and greater use of remote working as a component of business operations.
The goal should be to disperse traffic flows and reduce emissions, and that can be done in a variety of ways: New roadway and rail alternatives; more buses, lanes and park-and-ride options; more safe walking and cycling routes, more water traffic options.
Major urban authorities overseas have used the pandemic for planning moves to better position their cities to face the future, while making use of coronavirus recovery money.
In New Zealand, various authorities have reacted by tending to reach for what they know has worked in the past rather than thinking through what would work for now and in the future.
A Super City amalgamation of cities and boroughs in 2010 was supposed to bring clarity of focus to the major infrastructure requirements of the region. Once again, 10 years on, we are reminded of the opportunities missed.