Auckland cyclists are experiencing a bumpy ride on a new $14.4 million cycleway along Tamaki Drive.
After being deluged with complaints, Bike Auckland chairwoman Barb Cuthbert rode the new cycleway on her e-bike at a decent speed today and felt it had an uneven surface.
"I don't think it's a crisis, but it should be repairable, and it needs to be repaired because it's a new build and deserves a better finish," she said, adding the new surface was being used by cyclists and people on e-scooters in droves.
"It could be better," said Cuthbert, who called Tamaki Drive the city's "premier" cycling route which averages more than 1500 trips a day.
Work on the cycleway from the end of Quay St to Ngapipi Rd on the seaward side began in February last year. The two-way separated cycleway will also connect with cycle routes to Glen Innes and Parnell.
The $14.4m project also involves raising a section of Tamaki Drive by half a metre to protect against seasonal flooding from king tides that sometimes forces the road to close.
One cyclist told the Herald the cycleway had been very poorly laid and is extremely bumpy, saying AT had admitted there are problems with the quality of the work and the contractor has agreed to remedy some of the tarmac.
"In contrast, the recently laid section of road at Tamaki Yacht Club is of a very high quality. It would appear that cyclists are getting short-changed with a low-quality product by the contractor. Possibly Auckland Transport is doing a poor job of administering public money in this contract," the cyclist said.
Cuthbert said she flagged the problems with AT last week and they are meeting Bike Auckland's technical group for a walkover this week to see what can be done.
It was her understanding the width of the cycleway meant it could not be machine laid, which gives a far smoother finish.
Orakei councillor Desley Simpson said when the asphalt was laid by hand for the cycleway around Christmas it was found to be slightly uneven.
Instead of blocking it off and triggering a traffic management plan over the holiday period, she said, it was decided to open the cycleway and repair the surface in the New Year.
An AT spokesman said there are some undulations in the new cycleway surface, which will be fixed by the contractor at no extra cost.
"As the cycleway looked complete and the undulations didn't create a safety issue we opened it over the holidays. We are now waiting for a new traffic management plan so the contractor can repair the surface," the spokesman said.
The roadworks on one of Auckland's busiest roads travelling east out of Auckland city centre along the waterfront is also putting a strain on road vehicles.
In October, the Herald reported that internal AT correspondence and designs say buses will be required to use the middle lanes of Tamaki Drive, because the kerbside lanes are too narrow at 2.95 metres.
Graphics within an AT report have specifically placed buses in the middle lane of the arterial Tamaki Drive route because that is where they are expected to travel once construction is complete.
How the buses are to pick up passengers from the middle lanes, and whether they will hold up traffic when doing so, is unclear.
In response to the Herald, AT claimed "A bus is 2.5 metres wide so there is adequate room for them to operate safely".
In February last year, AT said the Tamaki Drive project would be completed by mid-December. Now AT is saying the project will not be completed until August this year.
The Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance has slammed the lack of progress, with Orakei spokeswoman Carmel Claridge saying it is choking Tamaki Drive and adding up to 15 minutes to a commute from Mission Bay to the CBD.
"How does a cycleway take more than a year to build?" she asked.