Tapuwae bridges connect North Shore communities

A newly completed 5.2km path will provide a safe connection for people walking and cycling between Smales Farm and Northcote on the North Shore.

Northcote Safe Cycle Route was officially opened today by Transport Minister, Michael Wood following the completion of two bridges constructed on either side of the road bridge crossing over the Northern Motorway (SH1). The striking bridges constructed by Dempsey Wood Ltd, complete the walking and cycling shared path along Northcote Road, Lake Road and Queen Street on the North Shore

Mr Wood says, “The Northcote Safe Cycle Route is a great addition to Auckland’s growing walking and cycling network. We know that when we build safe walking and cycling infrastructure, people use it – helping to reduce congestion and emissions. With around six thousand students in the area, it’ll be an important part of getting more kids on their bikes and helping them get to school safely.”

In 2020, 526 deaths and serious injuries (DSI) were recorded in the Auckland region, with almost half of that total being people walking, cycling or on motorbikes.

The Northcote Safe Cycle Route will improve and provide safe access for several schools, Smales Farm Busway Station, Smales Farm Business Park, sports facilities, North Shore Hospital, Northcote Town Centre, Te Onewa Northcote Point Wharf and beyond. Once constructed, the Northern Pathway with also connect with the Northcote Safe Cycle Route providing a seamless, dedicated walking and cycling link between central Auckland and the North Shore, as well as connecting to local paths to extend the regions walking and cycling network.

North Shore Councillor, Chris Darby says, “These new bridges provide increased safety and accessibility to the thousands of students, workers, commuters, and sports players who frequent the Northcote and Smales Farm areas. This is a significant improvement for communities that were otherwise cleaved in two by the motorway and an interchange that posed significant pedestrian risks”.

AT Chief Executive, Shane Ellison says he is delighted to see the cycleway completed and will provide for the growing demand from people choosing to walk or cycle.

“It’s important that we create a future where everyone feels comfortable riding a bike and we can only do this if there is safe infrastructure in place to do this. The investment being made to Auckland’s cycle network will also help ease congestion on our roads, lower carbon emissions and will improve the overall performance of the transport system”, he says.

The bridges have been officially named Tapuwae (footprint) by iwi artist Reuben Kirkwood of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Iwi. Mr Kirkwood created the artwork that extends across the span of the bridges. The artwork represents visually at day and night, the founding of the volcanic landscape in Tāmaki.

Deborah Hume, Waka Kotahi Establishment Manager Multimodal and Innovation says it’s important we provide better access and greater choice for people to adopt new ways of moving around the city that are good for their health and the environment. “The Northcote Safe cycle route is a great example of how local and central government can work together to ensure our walking and cycling infrastructure provides a seamless connection between communities.”

Construction of the route began in 2015 and construction of the bridges began in 2019. The majority of the route has been complete since 2018 with the bridges being the final piece of the puzzle.

The Northcote Safe Cycle Route is a $26.6 million project, with the bridges costing $12.4 million.

The project is co-funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and includes $11.5 million from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF).

AT monitors the number of trips people take by bike at 26 sites across Auckland to help get a better understanding of trends for future investment. For the year to June 2021, 3.5 million movements were recorded across the region.

For more information about the Northcote Safe Cycle Route, visit www.at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/northcote-safe-cycle-route