Wednesday 01st March

Lightpath temporary closure

Where: TBD
When: for 9 days

Lightpath/ Te Ara i Whiti and the Canada St Bridge will be closed for repairs and resurfacing, from 1 March for approximately nine days, weather-dependent. Here’s the official press release. In lay terms, the path is getting a fresh coat and some sunscreen to make it last. Bring on the bright-pinker future! The timing isn’t ideal –  but it’s hard to see when would have been better, as good weather is needed to make the resurfacing bond properly.

Naturally, as soon as the closure was announced, questions came flooding in. The queries from bike folk are particularly engaged and specific, so we passed your Frequently Asked Questions on to NZTA, who’ve supplied answers below.

The question of proper detours is obviously top of mind, especially for the hundreds of regular users who travel the Lightpath to get to the protected lane on Nelson St and thus to the west side of the CBD. Grafton Gully is an off-road option for getting to downtown, but takes you out of your way if you’re headed west. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions for getting around this temporary gap in the network.

Our thanks to NZTA’s comms team for answering your questions. If you have further queries, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to source answers for you.

Lightpath resurfacing FAQs

Why now? Why not close it when it’s a bit colder and not so many cyclists are using it?

It’s important that we have the right temperature and warm, dry conditions as any form of moisture or dampness in the area will affect the quality of the bonding.

Is this timed to fit with March madness for maximum road chaos?

The maintenance work was originally meant to be undertaken in December and has already been delayed a few times due to the busy summer holiday period, when the path gets maximum use by cyclists and pedestrians.

Why does the entire width of the cycleway need to be closed at once?

The path needs to be completely fenced off due to the nature of the work being carried out. Closing off only parts of the path may affect the bonding and, therefore, the long term durability of the surface.

What does the revamp entail?

The revamp involves refreshing the magenta colour of the path and applying UV protection to ensure it retains a long-lasting pigment. Contractor Resin Surfaces will be using a UV-resistant marine grade exterior coating aliphatic resin, generally used on boats, to make the surface more durable.

The test patch looked very shiny. Hope it won’t be slippy when it rains?

While there is a high sheen to the test patches on the path, these have been comprehensively tested for skid resistance. The path never has been, nor ever will be, slippery due to wet weather.

Why is Auckland Council paying to resurface an NZTA route?

The Lightpath’s magenta surface was initially funded by Auckland Council, and comes out of their budget. The estimated cost of the refresh and UV protection is $115,000, which will be funded through money previously set aside by Council from the City Centre Targeted Rate.

Are cyclists being provided a safe detour route whilst this is closed like they do for cars?

There will be no detour routes while the work is being completed. However, various alternative cycle routes are available online via Auckland Transport’s maps. These maps are ideal to help cyclists figure out their temporary routes. We encourage people to plan their journey/cycle routes beforehand.

Glad to see it getting fixed as the surface is coming apart, but if it was a road, no way it would get closed for a week or more.

The Lightpath is not a road, it is a path for cyclists and pedestrians ­– and it is also, very uniquely, painted bright pink! The path will need to be fully closed as the resurfacing work is much more complex than putting down a normal road surface. There are about five layers of coating which need to be applied, including resin, aggregrate and UV protection.

Lightpathrepinkposter

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  • Glen Koorey

    I don’t see why a temporary coned off alternative cycleway couldn’t be provided along Pitt St and Mercury Ln in the meantime; they would lose a lane when there are roadworks there anyway.

  • icanhearvoices

    These repairs seem very soon after the initial opening. I am forced to conclude that either/both the original design specifications were sub-standard, or that their implementation was. What repercussions or claw-backs are happening – and if there are none, why not? Was the contract itself poorly written? Whichever way you look at it, it can’t be right that these repairs are already needed. *Someone, somewhere* has failed to do their job properly.

    • Matt Hancock

      Some might say that the initial coating was installed in a rush to meet the deadline for opening and not installed under the right climactic conditions. The cost of repair should be borne by whoever made that decision IMO.

  • Andrew

    If this was a main road (rather than a main cycle path) then an alternative route with detour signage would be provided. So why not in this case? As Glen commented, a Mercury Lane and Pitt St would be ideal.

  • Brendan

    I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure this statement by NZTA that “The Lightpath is not a road, it is a path for cyclists and pedestrians” is not consistent with the law. If NZTA go read this handy document titled “What is a road?” from NZTA (https://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/what-is-a-road/what-is-a-road/), they would see that Lightpath meets the statutory definition of a road, and it is used by vehicles (cycles).

    This full road closure during peak times for extended periods seems like a very efficient cost-effective solution to upgrading roads. How much quicker it would have been to widen the northwestern motorway if they just fully closed it during the upgrade?

  • Whitifan

    Crikey – fair points being made, but do people have to be quite so negative?! This didn’t even exist 15 months ago. And in a couple of weeks it’s going to give us that amazing pink delirium all over again… I can’t wait!

    • John

      It exists now.
      Not looking forward to the negative comments next year when they close the western ring route tunnel for resurfacing 😮

  • John

    Why does the entire width of the cycleway need to be closed at once?…
    This answer doesn’t seem like it actually answers anything. What is the “nature of the work” and how is it that “closing only parts of it may affect the bonding process”?
    Another quesion is does it actually have to be so pink? I’d probably go with yes but it’s good to check 😉

    • John

      Q = If it was a road it wouldn’t be closed?
      A = yes it’s not important because it’s not a road. Just buy a car like everyone else.

  • Auckland Cyclist

    Thanks for the good FAQ. I was caught out this morning – with loads of others. I wish there was better on site warnings communicated… First time navigating cbd on a bike – didn’t get hit 🙂

  • gredge

    Watch out, I’m a bit pissed off about this.

    Approaching the path this morning I idly dreamt of discovering a coned-off detour, up one side of, say, Mercury Lane and down Pitt St. That would’ve been the right thing to do.

    And no, I didn’t *really* think it would happen. But what I didn’t expect at all was that NZTA / AT would actually just close the path without offering *any* kind of detour information or option of *any* sort, whatsoever. There is not one piece of paper or person offering any help to get safely across maybe the shittiest roading setup in the CBD.

    Now, I’m pretty grown up and independent about these things myself, but on behalf of the 14 (counted them twice) people who turned up over the 2 minutes I was on the phone to the info number, this reads as “fuck you, people on bikes, this is our toy and we’re going to play with it, run along – you simply don’t matter. It’s closed. Deal with it.”

    This does not read as “we’re making this city safe for everyone – so if we have to temporarily close a critical piece of infrastructure, we’re going to replace it with something as good as it possibly can be for the duration – regardless of what kind of traffic it supports”.

    Two things to note:

    – AT or NZTA or their contractors provided a security guard at either end , purely to ensure nobody went around any cones (maybe the path is that important to some people’s safety that, yes, they’d give it a go). Neither of these guards had been briefed on detour options, and were both upset and embarrassed about it. They’d been copping flak from – literally – hundreds of people by the time I got there at 9am.

    – There is no detour signage *at all*. But if you ring the number – and I suggest you do, it’s 0277385959 – someone on the other end will commiserate and suggest Pitt St and let you know “but you’d have to be pretty confident to ride down there”.

    Do ring that number, tell them you’re not happy, and ask questions – so that at the very least nobody can say “we haven’t had any calls expressing concern”.

    Grrrrrrrrrumpy.