Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Getting Across

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  • Morgan Nichol,

    Catering for rail, cyclists, and pedestrians is really all I care about from any of the proposals. And this project claims to do just that. I don't recall the tunnel ever offering a pedestrian or cycle option.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    To have no cycle connection would be absurd.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Tass,

    I haven’t seen much about this version, but earlier discussions indicated that getting a bridge at a gradient allowing rail-under-road still high enough for boats to go under would require large embankments on either side (like in Sydney). This will take lots of space, and I don’t see the costs for buying up all the land needed in those numbers, or pictures showing what it would look like.

    Plus the assumed profit on land sales are pretty bold, and assume, for eg, that the current St Mary’s bay residents don’t successfully limit any development that impacts their views etc. And how many tourists will really stay an extra night because we have a beautiful bridge?

    Whatever else is wrong with the tunnel option, it does provide for two routes so one is still in operation if the other is clogged (accident, maintenance etc). And the plan is for walking and cycling to be made available on the existing bridge once the tunnel is commissioned (which isn’t an adequate excuse for not making them available now!).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2008 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This will take lots of space, and I don’t see the costs for buying up all the land needed in those numbers, or pictures showing what it would look like.

    Presumably, December 3 will be the day for that -- but I can't see there'd too much of a problem with space at the Shore end.

    Plus the assumed profit on land sales are pretty bold, and assume, for eg, that the current St Mary’s bay residents don’t successfully limit any development that impacts their views etc.

    I'd think St Mary's Bay residents would be stoked to no longer have a motorway at the bottom of the cliff, and an elegant span to look at. The residents of Lighter Quay might not be so happy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Tass,

    I'd think St Mary's Bay residents would be stoked to no longer have a motorway at the bottom of the cliff, and an elegant span to look at. The residents of Lighter Quay might not be so happy

    Lighter Quay people definitely not happy! But don’t underestimate the St Mary's Bay residents – they’ve successfully stopped a variety of buildings around the edges of Westhaven

    Auckland • Since Nov 2008 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Not really a reason not to build a beautiful bridge but it would stand a good chance of making the present harbour bridge look filthy ugly by comparison.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The Herald had some coverage a couple of years ago - mentions the gradient being low enough for rail. Richard Simpson included the bridge in his presentation at Foo Camp, which was fascinating. Like Russell, I have yet to hear any decent reasons not to build it. Plus narrow-minded silver-spooner Bhatnagar thinks it's both nutty and amusing - what better endorsement.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    On the Plus side it's still the centenary if it takes from 2015-2018 & the multi-modal transport options are music to my ears.

    Just why must all infrastructure be around an event?

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    To mobilise the political commitment. A three year cycle discourages long term thinking.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I'd suggest a cheaper way. Remove three private transport lanes from the clipons, creating a dedicated busway and a bike/walking lane.

    Manage the traffic with a variable congestion charge (like air fares). On busy days, the charge goes up to whatever level makes people get out of their cars and use the park and ride.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Arbury,

    OK here I am to offer a few reasons why one might not want to build it:

    1) It would result in the current Harbour Bridge being removed. While it sure isn't perfect, it is an icon for Auckland I must say the city would feel pretty strange without it.

    2) Urban amenity effects on Tank Farm. Do we really want a 10 lane wide motorway running through the heart of this new area? It seems like this is a part of the city that will be completely awesome in 10-20 years time, do we really want to screw it up by slapping a motorway down the middle of it?

    3) Ship clearance - the bridge would have to be pretty high I think to cope with the ships that currently port at the Chelsea sugar factory. I guess that doesn't have to be a show-stopper, and different ships could be used for that factory, but in any case the bridge is probably going to have to be quite high up.

    4).... which means it would be damn difficult to get a railway line from Britomart up to the bridge. I'm thinking that at a 1:50 grade the line would have to be rising for about 1.5km to get from 8m below ground level to 20m above ground level. Do we really want an elevated railway line cutting through the middle of our city between Britomart and this bridge?

    So yeah..... those are my criticisms of it. But it's certainly an interesting idea. Ngati Whatua might have something to say about the land that's currently used for the St Mary's bay bit of motorway.

    As far as I know, the current NZTA plan is to build a road tunnel and a rail tunnel. Once they are built the existing clip-ons would be used for pedestrians and cyclists, with the four middle lanes being for local traffic linking to Ponsonby and Fanshawe Street. However, that current plan does come at a cost of around $3.7-$4.1 billion. Ouch.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 237 posts Report Reply

  • Tass,

    it would be damn difficult to get a railway line from Britomart up to the bridge. I'm thinking that at a 1:50 grade the line would have to be rising for about 1.5km to get from 8m below ground level to 20m above ground level.

    I think the plan for the tunnel option is for rail to join the CBD rail tunnel - presumably the same thing could be done from the bridge option.

    I think its normally true for bridges/tunnels that the trickiest thing to plan is how they join up with the network on either side. Does anyone know if Richard Simpson's presentation covered how the roads link to spaghetti junction?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2008 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    However, that current plan does come at a cost of around $3.7-$4.1 billion. Ouch.

    Pfft, doesn't Joyce run up a billion dollars of promises a week anyway? A harbour crossing or two is at most a month's work for a man of such energy. ;-)

    When it comes to roads, Labour and National are really tweedle dumb and tweedle dumberer.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Mrs Skin,

    For once, I want what Dubai's got. I think something similarly imaginative would be an adequate replacement for the existing...icon...

    Millau is a bit stiff for the harbour in my opinion, but I like it where it is. Something that responds to its setting would be ideal.

    the warmest room in the h… • Since Feb 2009 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    If you're going to have a signature harbour bridge for heavens sake don't repeat the mistakes of the past - make it look different from Sydney's

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I agree that tourists are not going to stay and extra night .... but ... a big arch bridge like Dubai's, a rollercoaster .... might just work ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    No it won't make tourists stay an extra night, but assuming all the engineering issues can be solved it would make a hell of alot of sense, and just imagine - a major piece of well-designed public infrastructure we could actually be proud of !
    Unheard of in Auckland I know, but I live in hope.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    For once, I want what Dubai's got.

    Little known fact: it doubles as the world's largest harp.

    Much like David Fisher's dynamic tower, I'll believe that particular piece of Dubai infrastructure when I see it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Excellent - I've followed this for a while and whenever the harbour crossing has come up in discussion I've gleefully told people about demolitioning the existing bridge (now THERE'S your New Years Eve show) and selling St Marys' Bay.
    A little disappointed in the "Kiwi designers can't do it" approach - I don't think it's our designers that are the issue, it's the commissions they get.

    Presuming Joshua's points around appropriate connection to Tank Farm and rail gradient can be sorted I will be majorly disappointed if this doesn't get the go ahead. Feels like a bit of a defining thing for Auckland for me even - do we do the old-thinking, no-design approach or try something a bit smarter and interesting? If you're listening Mr Key - this might actually be the sort of thing that "keeps our loved ones here", not a 30% tax rate...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    Rail link... to what? A station and a turntable at the North Shore end?

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Richard Simpson made a presentation of this scheme at Architecture Week and, although it is superficially attractive, I think the plan has a few issues.

    1) Where does all the traffic go? Eight lanes heading straight for the heart of the city - what happens next?

    2) Eight lanes of traffic - although it offers alternatives (bus, rail and cycle) it is still an urban motorway and not exactly an alternative to the car. Incidentally, Simpson said Stephen Joyce liked the idea but wanted more lanes.

    3) The design is the work of an architectural firm - Jasmax. No engineers have been involved in the making of this picture.

    4) The world's best bridge builder says it is crap (perhaps this should be higher up the list).

    5) The economics of the scheme are fanciful, to say the least. They are based on rising property values, like every other financial disaster in recent memory.

    6) Why get rid of the present bridge? It is not falling down.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    4) The world's best bridge builder says it is crap

    Well the world's best bridge builder actually said "definitely build a new bridge but at first glance that initial concept doesn't seem to be the right one". So he's all for the project, but believes you need to get the functional design right.

    Certainly agree that what we do with the traffic is the big thing - presumedly it would involve the Vic Park tunnel. If we could get it to dive under the city as soon as possible (presumedly not on Tank Farm but hopefully?) and into that setup then the effect isn't so massive. I await the technical design with interest. It does strike me that for the SAME budget as the full tunnel you could end up with something iconic on the water and fully acceptable on the city-side.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    And if we don't want to demolish the bridge - Highline anyone? ;)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Rail link... to what? A station and a turntable at the North Shore end?

    Iirc the Northern Busway was designed to be easily converted to a rail corridor although I suspect this was for a light rail option. I also seem to remember that the existing rail line ends at Helensville and I don't see any call for rail further north than that. As a light rail service for the North Shore and Auckland cities I can see the appeal, plus light rail would overcome some of the gradient problems.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Excellent issues - knew I could rely on PAS to raise them when others fail. I now have serious doubts.

    Paul, I wish your #6 were true without reservations. Like the rest of our roading network it's heavy trucks that are the problem.

    Bridge engineer Virlogeux (ta for link) seems to have specific engineering concerns with the Jasmax concept being unbalanced in terms of force loads. Nothing about the location, and he makes good points about a tunnel being pretty hard to draw attention to.

    The traffic connections seem harder to resolve though. I'm pretty sure the North Shore rail is just a line running along the current busway, which is designed for that change. The city end is where the problems would occur.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

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