Temporary, water-level pontoon crossing to be progressed in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour

25 June 2024

  • Wynyard Quarter
  • Media Release

Temporary, water-level crossing approved for Viaduct Harbour

The Eke Panuku Board has approved progressing the design and installation of a temporary, water-level pontoon crossing while maintenance work on the Wynyard Crossing Bridge on Auckland’s waterfront is underway.

  • The creation of a temporary water-level crossing in Viaduct Harbour using floating pontoons has been approved to progress by the Eke Panuku Board.
  • Initial estimates are that it will take around 12 weeks for the temporary crossing to be designed, consented, fabricated and installed.
  • The installation and operational cost will come from existing budgets.
  • The temporary crossing will enable pedestrians to cross from Te Wero Island to the Karanga Tidal Steps in Wynyard Quarter.
  • The temporary crossing will remain in place until the Wynyard Crossing Bridge returns to full operation.
  • Structural and mechanical works continue at pace on the Wynyard Crossing Bridge which is still on track for completion in time for the coming summer.

The Eke Panuku Board has approved progressing the design and installation of a temporary water-level crossing while maintenance work on the Wynyard Crossing Bridge on Auckland’s waterfront is underway. Using floating pontoons, it will provide direct pedestrian access from Te Wero Island to the Karanga Tidal Steps until the bridge returns to full operation in late 2024.

Eke Panuku has been investigating the viability of a floating structure that people could walk across since it was raised earlier this month by several local businesses. While the original design was not viable from a health and safety perspective, Eke Panuku has been working with industry experts and its own team to refine the design to ensure it is safe for the public to use and can be implemented as fast as possible. 

The design and operational phases will need to ensure public and worker safety and address the range of users who can safely use the connection. Obtaining consent in a timely manner will be key and testing the operability of opening and closing the connection so boats can safely enter and exit. Work is getting underway with council regulatory, PCBUs and the project team including industry experts to address these before physical delivery gets underway.

INDICATIVE CONCEPT RENDER

INDICATIVE CONCEPT RENDER

Initial estimates indicate it will take about 12 weeks until the temporary crossing is ready for public use based on the infrastructure works, design and consenting required.  The actual timing will be confirmed during the design and consenting stages. In the interim, the Red Boat ferry service will continue to transport passengers from the Maritime Museum to the Viaduct Events Centre at weekends.

Eke Panuku has been working closely with the Auckland Council Group and Wynyard Quarter businesses and residents to promote and deliver alternative travel options, including access across the water, while the repairs on the bridge are underway. 

This has included an extensive public information campaign about existing alternative options like the City Link bus route from downtown Auckland to Wynyard Quarter and providing a weekend water ferry service. The City Link bus service has seen a significant increase in ridership (from around 2,500 riders per weekday to 3,500), corresponding with its promotion and the bridge’s closure.

Eke Panuku Chair Paul Majurey said resolving the crossing issue had been a major focus for the organisation’s management and board.

“This is a vital lifeline for the area. The temporary pontoon crossing will help to restore foot traffic to Wynyard Quarter while the main bridge works continue. Importantly, if there is any delay with the repairs works, the pontoon can remain in place until those are fully completed.”

“While we have tried other measures, they have not been able to provide the pedestrian access the Wynyard Quarter businesses and residents need. The temporary pontoon will go a long way to meet the traffic demand. We are pleased to be proceeding with a solution as we are very conscious of the disruption the Wynyard Quarter community is enduring while we undertake the repairs to the main bridge.”

Eke Panuku will meet the costs of installing and operating the pontoon bridge from adjustments within its existing budgets. Resource and building consents will also be needed from Auckland Council. We will also consult with Mana Whenua.

Structural and mechanical works continue at pace on the Wynyard Crossing Bridge which is still on track for completion in time for the coming summer. 

 

Temporary water-level crossing – how it works

Unlike the lifting arms of the Wynyard Crossing Bridge, the temporary water-level crossing structure will be made from 4.4m wide secured, floating concrete pontoons, similar to other structures used in marinas. They will naturally rise and fall with the tides and may also move slightly due to waves, currents and wash as people move across.

Public access ramps and balustrades will be installed to ensure safe access for the public.

Eke Panuku is working closely with Auckland Council to progress the necessary resource and building consents.

Once complete, the temporary water-level crossing will link Te Wero Island to the Karanga Plaza Tidal Steps. When required to be open to allow marine traffic through, it will hinge just over 90degrees to the south from a pile mooring at the Karanga Plaza Tidal Steps using an outboard engine. Until it’s installed, it’s not possible to know the exact duration of the closure and reopening cycle but should be around 15 minutes. This is a key area we are testing to ensure it will work safely and efficiently.

Staff will be required to operate the temporary floating structure. Opening times are still being worked through but it’s expected that it will be open to the public during daylight hours to ensure the safety of people using the connection and, if possible to do safely, into the evening hours.   

Eke Panuku is working with six berth holders who will need to be relocated to free up the space required for the infrastructure and pontoons.

The temporary water-level crossing won’t match the full capacity or journey times of the Wynyard Crossing Bridge. Health and safety and accessibility to the floating pontoons are key considerations in the design and consenting process.

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