John Tamihere said that the crossing would be one of his priority projects if elected in October. “A new 10 vehicle lane harbour crossing, which will carry cars, rail, pedestrians and cyclists can be completed within six years on the existing bridge piers, replacing the existing bridge,” Tamihere said. “There will be minimal disruption to traffic. My team have looked at overseas structures and costs and it is very doable.”
He said that new superstructure would be built on temporary piers to the east of the existing Auckland Harbour Bridge (AHB), with road traffic then switched to the new lanes. The old superstructure would then be taken down and the new superstructure slid west to its final position on the existing piers. Under Tamihere’s plan, there would be two footpaths, two cycleways, 10 road lanes and four rail tracks on the new superstructure in its permanent position.
Tamihere said that his plan envisions a new two-level Auckland Harbour Bridge superstructure, with the same appearance as the 1959 original, on the existing piers “which were built so well that engineers consider them to be good for a least 1,000 years”. The 10 road lanes would be on the lower level.
The AHB piers currently carry the original 1959 superstructure and the two clip-on superstructures added in 1969. New Zealand Transport Agency proposes to add a third clip-on to the AHB piers. “This would mean four bridge superstructures sitting on and clinging to one set of piers,” said Tamihere’s plan. He said that his plan to replace the three existing bridge structures and the proposed fourth one with a single superstructure on the existing piers has been assessed by bridge engineers.