If you live in Auckland you may recall that around 9 months ago two trucks were blown over on the Auckland Harbour Bridge by high winds.
A central strut had to be replaced and the disruption to the Auckland and New Zealand economy was significant.
You might think that incident would have taught us we really should develop a second connection across the Waitemata harbour and indeed, as of last week a second crossing has been approved.
Auckland is to have a separate $680m cycle and walking bridge.
Now.. I’m having some trouble with that decision.
Am I in favour of being able to cycle and walk across the bridge ?
Would that be possible without building a new cycle and walk bridge?
I think the answer might also very well be Yes.
Of course you’d have to encourage more people to use public transport .
How would you do that?
Make bus travel free.
Charge a city congestion tax for cars which have less than two passengers.
This might well free up a lane for bikes much quicker than building a special bridge.
I’d then think about putting the $680 million towards building a train tunnel to link up with the CBD and alongside it I’d like to see a tunnel of the size of the one under Sydney Harbour
I know we are probably talking several $ Billion here , but someone needs to do the economic modelling of how much it costs our economy for the Auckland traffic to be largely grid locked for several hours a day.
I’d also really like to know how much it cost Auckland businesses in loss of revenue and how much it cost Aucklanders in increased costs of getting from A to B back in September of last year when the bridge got damaged.
State Highway 1 is the main artery north and south in our country. It needs a heart operation at the Waitamata. If we want to create a vibrant economy to house and feed everyone in our country we do have to spend on infrastructure.
PS The main artery argument also applies to the folks in South Canterbury . Every town and city straddled along State Highway 1 needs to a viable alternative route in and out of their centre because we can’t have a 21st century economy with 19th century road system.
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.