Mayoral candidate John Tamihere's plan for an 18-lane superstructure to replace the existing Auckland Harbour Bridge would be an "ugly munter", says an advocate for a new harbour crossing.
Nine years ago, Auckland City councillor Richard Simpson headed the Anzac Centenary Bridge Group for an iconic harbour crossing to define Auckland in the way Sydney's Harbour Bridge defines that city.
The group's proposed bridge had general traffic lanes with potentially two dedicated bus lanes, two tracks for light rail and walking and cycling lanes. It would link Wynyard Pt and Onewa Rd, replacing the existing bridge.
Simpson, who now lives overseas and is working on Brisbane's $6 billion cross-river rail project, said he remained keen for Auckland to be bold and build a new bridge to lift itself on to the world stage.
However, he is not keen on the Tamihere proposal for 10 car lanes demanding more access to the bridge. The bridge has eight lanes.
"Also the steep gradient of the bridge would not be safe for rail," Simpson said.
"The additional waterfront motorway lanes and the rail line extrusions would render this bridge quite an ugly munter."
Simpson said the Anzac group came up with visualisations of a "straw man" concept for the bridge and discussed it with Prime Minister John Key and minister Steven Joyce and it won a Metro magazine Best of Auckland award in 2010. Work stopped when the Christchurch earthquakes hit, he said.
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On Friday, Tamihere announced the two-level bridge superstructure on the existing Harbour Bridge could be built within six years, but he had no costings for the project.
There would be 10 lanes for vehicles on the lower level and four rail tracks and walkways and cycleways on the upper level.
"There will be minimal disruption to traffic. My team have looked at overseas structures and costs and it is very doable," he said.
Tamihere said full or partial superstructure replacements have been carried out on several bridges in the United States, including the Milton-Madison bridge, costing US$104 million ($161m), over the Ohio River. It was built in 1929.
Goff called the "18-lane bridge" fantasy stuff and fundamentally dishonest to promise. It would cost more than $10 billion to build, he said.
At his campaign launch yesterday, Goff said widening the bridge would "mean goodbye to half of St Marys Bay and Northcote Pt".