What Bridge Footbridge Looks Like


Here’s the first look at the artists impression of the 102 metre-long covered footbridge which will reconnect the St Marys Bay residential area with the Waitemata Harbour over the over the SH1 motorway in St Marys Bay as part of the Victoria Park Tunnel project.
The design resembles a traditional Maori fishing net.

The bridge will be fully covered with acrylic panels and the draped fish netting design is a reference to the area’s historical importance to Maori as a fishing ground.
Principal architect, John Coop, says the footbridge across the widened motorway will be a suitable entrance to the commercial centre of Auckland.
“It will be a simple, bold and sculptural form. It will be appropriate to its location - a gateway to Auckland - yet we have also aimed to be sensitive to the community living nearby and to the natural environment.”
At its landward end, the footbridge connects to the Jacobs Ladder staircase, originally built in the 1880s to provide access down the cliffs, and to the new walkway beside the motorway through St Marys Bay.
The old steep walkway called Jacob’s Ladder - now closed - went down the cliffs at St Mary’s Bay to the historic foreshore. The ladder was historically, the only access to St Mary’s Bay, which was an early Auckland ship builders’ place, with small vessels secured to the wharf. In the tiny reserve at the bottom of the ladder was a small navy building.
In 1925, HMNZS Ngapona was formed and used for training purposes until the harbour bridge was built. Putting the bridge approaches there left the building and naval boats high and dry, as it was now alongside a motorway. Ngapona closed last year and the naval people involved relocated to the Devonport base.

Jacobs Ladder in St Marys Bay led to the motorway

The seaward end of the new bridge will be linked to Westhaven Drive by a staircase and a lift. At this end, there will be a viewing platform to the harbour.
The design of the bridge is a collaborative effort by architects SKM and Warren and Mahoney, landscape architects Boffa Miskell, a Maori design company, Kupenga Design, and the partners in the Victoria Park Tunnel alliance.

Where the bridge will go

NZTA’s NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker says constructing the footbridge will be a challenging operation and its installation will cause some disruption to motorway drivers. There will be partial highway closures on four separate nights:

  • Thursday, August 4: Fanshawe Street on-ramp closed from 9.30pm. SH1 northbound lanes closed between Nelson and Curran Streets from midnight; SH1 southbound lanes remain open
  • Sunday August 7: Fanshawe Street on-ramp closed from 9.30pm
  • Saturday August 13: Fanshawe Street on-ramp closed from 9.30pm to midnight; Fanshawe Street off-ramp closed from 9.30pm until 7am; SH1 southbound lanes closed from Shelly Beach Road off-ramp to Hobson Street 11pm-5am; SH1 northbound lanes remain open
  • Sunday August 14: Fanshawe Street off-ramp closed 9.30pm-5am; SH1 southbound closed between Shelly Beach Road off-ramp and Hobson Street 11.30pm-5am; SH1 northbound lanes remain open

Mr Parker says the closures are necessary because the frame for the footbridge is being delivered on site in section, and a crane is needed to lift them into position.

After installation, work will start covering the frame and installing the deck.  At the same time, the Jacobs Ladder staircase will also re-open to connect the walkway through St Marys Bay with Beaumont Street.

Others community-based work provided by the project includes the walkway separated from the motorway by a transparent noise wall below the St Marys Bay cliffs, new and upgraded footpaths for Victoria Park, a public plaza in front of the Rob Roy Hotel and new pedestrian crossings.

There had been reports earlier of this concept design a -part transparent, part metallic bridge one costing between $3m and $5m that would become known as a “Gateway To Auckland.” I couldn’t work out if this is totally nuts or, for a rare Auckland moment, a brilliantidea.

An earlier concept design




  1. tbird says:

    It’s very pixelated. Do the JPEG artefacts reference the computer programmers in St Mary’s Bay?

    Any higher res pics?

    Enjoyed hearing about the history of J’s ladder.

  2. Carl says:

    any better pictures John? looks interesting, this Jacobs ladder thing? we have the same idea / concept here in Perth, is some sort of training program or famous person?

    the idea of a maori fishing net likeness is great, acrylic on the hand is not.

  3. Nick says:

    Structure looks great. Be good to get the opinion of a traditional Maori fisherman though, would he like to see his fishing net strung up over an 8 lane highway or as a wharf floating out on the harbour. I’d much rather the wharf.

  4. Carl says:

    I also hope, that is a advert / billboard free structure,

    none of this “welcome to auckland city” crap on it or some advertising as such.

    we don’t need anymore billboards, some free standing interesting looking arch structures will do.

    be interesting to see how its going to be lit up at night time.

  5. George D says:

    Interesting. As long as the 102m doesn’t cost $102m, I think it’s a fair solution to a real problem.

  6. KarlHansen says:

    It’s going to look pretty swell. Hopefully it should also be used well.

    We also need a second bridge (though that won’t be NZTA’s direct business) from Victoria Park to Wynyard Quarter (seeing that Fanshaw Street will stay extremely hostile to peds for the forseeable future).

    But it’s good that they built it, despite the objections from the St Mary’s Bay residents.

  7. Carl says:

    Those images are awesome cheers RTC,

    the way this thing is going to be lit at night is going to be awesome.

    most stuff like this, more stuff like this!!!!

  8. Rob says:

    I Think it looks atrocious to be honest. As you round that corner and see the city in all its splendor you will have to be assaulted with this ugly looking plank in the way. Horrible.


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