In 2005 Richard Simpson first proposed the idea of a new harbour crossing – a bold new bridge that would take a more direct route between the city and the North Shore designed to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, vehicular traffic and trains. The design would be the result of an international design competition for a bridge that not only fulfills the functional requirements of connection, but that would also contribute to the identity of Auckland – the greater city and the Waitemata Harbour. Integral to this initiative are economic and social benefits resulting in the creation of jobs for the construction of the bridge and the urban renewal of the freed-up land on both sides of the current bridge along with others associated with tourism and the creative industries.
The proposed bridge thankfully includes provision for public transport and cycling. The group has made their own case for a bridge over a tunnel under the harbour:
THE CASE FOR A BRIDGE
- Construction cost $2-3 billion compared to $3.7–$4.1b for the proposed tunnel
- Operating cost of 1/5 to 13 of a tunnel (based on ventilation, lighting, drainage and maintenance)
- About 350,000m2 of land valued at around $1b in St Mary’s Bay and Northcote Pt could be sold off after closure of bridge.
- Travel time and distance savings worth about $60 million a year (based on a bridge being 1.2km shorter than a tunnel)
- Estimated tourism benefits: $325 million a year (based on tourists staying an extra night)
Source: ANZAC Centenary Bridge Group