The Government's announcement today a new $780 million dedicated cycle and walking bridge across Auckland's Waitematā Harbour would be built in the next five years left some people rejoicing, but others remain sceptical of the project.
The project is meant to be part of an extended network for cyclists and pedestrians north of the city, but even its backers are dubious it will be completed, given the Government's poor record of following through on transport projects.
1 NEWS reported today a $6 billion cost blowout on transport projects means six of a promised 32 have been canned.
The Government's blaming rising construction costs and the Covid-19 pandemic for winding back some of the projects, announced in January 2020.
Earlier plans for a harbour-spanning cycle and walkway have so far been sunk by technical problems, and Bike Auckland spokesman Duncan Laidlaw told 1 NEWS there was plenty of milestones to cross before he would feel "excited" about the bridge.
"We're sure this bridge can be built if there's a will and a commitment to do so," he said.
"We would encourage all parties involved in this to work as efficiently and swiftly as possible to make that happen.
"We've been waiting 12 years already. This plan is announced to be five years, it could be shorter, it could be longer.
"Once the actual ground work kicks off and we start building something we will allow ourselves to become a bit more excited."
National Party leader Judith Collins was not convinced the bridge would be built in the expected timeframe.
"They've made another announcement today which I don't for a moment think is going to actually happen," she said, while questioning whether the cycleway should be top priority for the Government, pointing out the desperate need for projects to be completed in Auckland's expanding south.
But support for a cycleway bridge has been loud, a mob pushing through a police barricade and occupying the Auckland Harbour Bridge last weekend the latest example.
Laidlaw and Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said a short-term option also needed to be put in place while the standalone bridge was built.
"The reality is people in Auckland have been waiting too long to get across safely by bike or on foot and we need a solution sooner," Genter said.
Laidlaw said the best option would be for one lane of the Harbour Bridge to be converted to a dedicated cycleway and walkway.
Meanwhile, work is still underway on options for another new harbour crossing, Transport Minister Michael Wood saying it would most likely be a tunnel.