Stop the talk and commit to finding a solution to ensure the Auckland Harbour Bridge is fit and safe to carry the hundreds of thousands of people and tonnes of freight each day as a vital national connection, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO Michael Barnett.
“I can’t believe that our government planners and overseers seem to be categorising the Auckland Harbour Bridge as if it were the Kopu Bridge rather than the country’s main north-south arterial connection. After the massive disruption caused by a big gust of wind to the free movement of traffic, millions of dollars lost each day in productivity and increased costs from diversions which consumers must all pay for, you would think our national transport agency would see the risks as unacceptable and be pushing for long term, sustainable solutions to this national infrastructure asset,” he said.
“Instead, we are told that the existing bridge cannot be further strengthened and that traffic management limiting the volume of heavy trucks crossing this lifeline might be introduced sometime in the future. There is no mention of building a new crossing, be it a tunnel or a chunnel, to cope with population, export and freight growth. Motorways are the priority. The Auckland Harbour Bridge is a motorway, not an urban crossing or one lane bridge on the way to a holiday spot,” Mr Barnett said. “A huge percentage of users actually bypass the central city as they head north or south to distribute goods and commerce needed around the country. Thinking that restricting truck crossings at certain times is not just a cost but unfair in every way to every one of us.”
Mr Barnett said it was frustrating to see Auckland, as the gateway and an export and trade hub, left vulnerable to inaction despite the years of talk.