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Lightpath couldn’t stand the light

Lightpath is just over a year old but it quickly reached iconic status and feels like it has been part of the city for a lot longer than it has. As of the end of January, over 228k people had cycled along its magenta surface. But that surface is not as bright as it originally was, having been faded by the elements. It has also been cracking and blistering in places.

To fix these issues the NZTA are closing this important connection for just over a week starting next Wednesday to fix it.

Auckland’s Lightpath cycleway will get its own special sunscreen application next month, to protect it from the elements and make its colour even more vibrant.

The magenta surface will be refreshed and UV protected as part of ongoing maintenance.

The work means the shared path will be closed to all users between the 1st and the 9th of March.

“This UV coating is marine grade and is used on cruise and container ships, so the paint surface will now live up to the harshest possible conditions and will be far more fade resistant,” says Brett Gliddon the NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland Highway Manager.

“We’re delighted with the popularity of the Lightpath and apologise for any inconvenience its closure will cause, but along with Auckland Transport and Auckland Council, we’re committed to keeping it well maintained so that many more thousands of people can continue to enjoy it.”

The estimated cost of the refresh and UV protection is $115,000, which will be funded through money previously set aside by Auckland Council from the City Centre Targeted Rate.

The UV coating will involve a base coat being painted on to the existing surface, which will look a little redder than the current surface, the final magenta top coat will then be applied which will create the vibrant magenta colour again.

The work can only be carried out during dry weather and so the closure dates may be shifted.

Very wet weather at the time the original surface was laid is believed to have caused some bonding issues with the existing surface which is made of recycled glass and this will be fixed during the maintenance work.

This from Stuff shows the difference between the original surface and what it will look like after this work is done.

I’m a little conflicted over this. On one hand I can appreciate that this work needs to be done and the weather narrows down when this can happen. But on the other hand, this is also the time of the year that is most conducive to cycling and closing it for over a week leaves people who want a safe, protected option for accessing the western side of the city without one. Can you imagine the NZTA accepting a motorway being fully closed for a week for works?

It’s also disappointing that this needs to happen, why wasn’t weathering factored in when the surface was originally laid or were corners cut in order to get it open on time?

Let’s hope the NZTA and AT get this work done as fast as possible and that there are no further delays.

56 comments to Lightpath couldn’t stand the light

  • mfwic

    I have noticed all the black streets in Auckland have faded a bit since they were last sealed. The Council and NZTA should close them too and reseal the lot so they can be black again.

    • Alana

      You know what? They already do so every couple of years, whether it’s needed or not!

      Good thing they don’t do it on the footpaths though. Many of those have real heritage status now, they are so ancient.

      • Some of the Auckland footpaths are in shocking condition, many renewals are happening in areas where the footpaths were still in good condition, meanwhile others are left to fall apart. Probably just another case of AT basing everything off data instead of getting out and taking a look themselves, there also seems to be a bit of picking and choosing.

      • mfwic

        I am just gladdened to know the NZTA is so well funded and has no other pressing transport issues so it can spend money resealing a one year old cycleway because it is the wrong shade of pink.

        • HSB1 Alumnus

          I see a pink path and I want it painted pink(er)
          No colours anymore, I want it painted pink(er)
          I see the girls cycle by dressed in their lycra clothes
          I have to turn my head until compulsory helmet law goes

        • conan gorbey

          Obviously you are a bit busy today and didn’t notice this in the article:

          “The estimated cost of the refresh and UV protection is $115,000, which will be funded through money previously set aside by Auckland Council from the City Centre Targeted Rate.”

          We are clearly now so flush in Auckland we can pick up poor NZTA’s bills.

          • mfwic

            Bit hot in my office today, thanks for pointing that out. That is even better. Great to know that the Council has finished everything it has ever wanted to do and has made it right down its priority list to ‘make the cycleway a brighter pink’.

          • Matthew W

            What they cant claim this off the contractor or designer?

          • mike

            Under the tender contract which was sent out to other contractors this required a warranty period which by looks of things, The contractor has made up a excuse as to why his product failed .

          • GlenK

            Auckland City paid for the original pink surfacing, not NZTA

          • mike

            Then that sort out who paid , I cant get over been paid for work that failed and then get paid to fix it bearly a year after the works went down . Something is so wrong with that .Someone is running to the bank laughing his head off

  • Andrew W

    Would it be practical to close off half its width at a time?

  • Chris R

    To be fair, the weather was unusually bad when they were laying it. Pity K Rd is still in planning stages (and Pitt St in the too-hard basket) or there’d be an alternative route…

  • Chris Werry

    Perhaps they could cone off a lane of Pitt St and Mercury Lane for cycles as a detour while they do the work

  • Robert

    I agree, do half its width at a time. I am also suspicious why UV wasnt taken into account at the planning stage…its basic stuff… is there any accountability or do we just accept it???? because it is AT . In the private sector some one would be held to account !!!

  • Paul W

    Why waste all that money?? Just let it fad to black again..

  • Matthew

    Can we get Mike Hosking to pay for it? I know how much he loves it. Although he might need the money to pay for jeans that aren’t full of holes. And yes, why was wear and tear and solar treatment not factored in when originally pinking it up? (I looked up magenta and it is not a defined colour, so even that shows lack of good decision making somewhere). Fortunately my bike is still out of order since a friendly motorist last ran me down on a zebra crossing and then sped off. It does show that cyclists are still about as wanted as Muslims in Trumpland. That’s what you get for not voting Chloe.

  • Ricardo

    Motorway lanes are closed off when work is being done on them, and not just for a week, often for months, not sure why you thought otherwise. Two areas immediately come to mind, Western and Southern motorways

  • Justin

    Matt I think you nailed it with “Can you imagine the NZTA accepting a motorway being fully closed for a week for works?”

    Although this is a great piece of infrastructure, there is still a lack of consideration by AT as to how important this type of infrastructure is for the cycling community. Closing it fully will, in my case, seriously disrupt my commute into work. If they closed SH16 for even a day there would be uproar.

    I agree with the other comments on whether it could be done half at a time.

    Also, I understand that the reason the pink finish has failed is because it was done in a rush and a UV protective finish was not applied. I hope rate payers are not wearing the cost of this.

  • me Anthony

    Paint which is faded is COOL, High rise BUILDINGS are cool, Bridges Across the Harbour are cool/Beautiful, Narrow Streets are cool, Marinas are cool. Please Auckland Update your perceptions into a modern era… Beauty is in the Eye on the Beholder.

    • JDELH

      Indeed, high rise buildings + narrow streets can easily create colder microclimates in the shaded areas

      • Sailor Boy

        Which is frankly a relief in Auckland.

        • HSB1 Alumnus

          Auckland doesn’t get hot! It does get humid, though. But really, I can’t imagine many major cities with cooler summers than Auckland.

          • Jezza

            London, Dublin and Vancouver. You’re right though Auckland isn’t hot really – I could only think of three.

          • JamesS

            The sun is like a laser though, and with the humidity it usually feels a lot hotter than the air temperature would indicate. I’ve found low 30s in southern Europe to be more comfortable than mid 20s in Auckland.

          • Chris R

            Not even counting Wellington, there’s Seattle, Hobart, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Edmonton, Edinburgh, St Petersburg, Manchester…

          • Sailor Boy

            I’m actually really interested to see how much effect our extreme UV exposure has on perceived temperature. Southern Europe I can comfortably walk in the sun all day in low 30s, I can barely manage half an hour in 25 degrees in Auckland.

          • I agree, Auckland’s combination of humidity and strong sun makes it feel about ten degrees more than it is.

  • Interesting. I noticed yesterday here in Christchurch that a lot of newly laid green coating is already cracking and peeling. Wonder if there is a bad batch of ingredients, or incorrect info about laying technique, or something systemic like that.

  • One positive is that at least it’s done just before March Madness!

  • mike

    Can someone please explain why This is been again paid for by the city or NZTA as clearly the system used failed ad should have been under a contractors warranty as per tender document conditions .. Or are we been subject to favoritism towards the contractors excesses as to why his product failed in not only colour but adhesion in places to the surface …..

  • I think I may prefer the soft pink…. ?!

  • mike

    Stephen J.. The product in chch is the same product used on the light path funny enough .Us contractors as so unhappy that the contractor on this job is getting paid for something that should be under warranty. I think its a joke that its been funded again NZTA have what is called a draft P33 in which they want a 5 year warranty on colour .why is this not included in this .why is the contractor getting away with a failed surface he laid . SHOCKING SHOCK FROM NZTA

  • mike

    Just one other thing that is plan for everyone to see .They are coating over the surface with a product designed for painting steel ships noy for over aggregate .I iI have said in the past this will fail again and someone will pay to get it fixed

  • Jeff T

    Now come on guys. Too be fair, NZTA don’t have a lot of experience with cycleways. This mode if travel is quite new to them. It’s a learning curve.

  • Reader

    Well at least they waited for the Auckland Bike Challenge to finish. 😉

  • I haven’t personally noticed any problems with the pink section of the lightpath, but there is definitely serious blistering and missing chunks of coating on the beige section which is fairly narrow. I think this is why the lightpath needs to be closed completely…because the beige section is realistically too narrow to only do half at a time…it would be like trying to replace a footpath only half at a time.

  • Niall Mc Coll

    Red footpaths were an Auckland icon. Check out Garnet Rd Westmere. Red chip from Karamuramu Is. off Kawakawa Bay. Used to be all over inner burbs. Bring back the Pink!

  • Waspman

    Actually I can imagine NZTA closing the motorways because you should try using them at night, its a lottery, especially tbe North western. Not for a week, I realise.

    And don’t forget to mention the fiasco that is the years of road works at Te Atatu and Edmonton Rds closing large parts of those very busy important roads permanantly.

  • mike

    Is it just me or are you all blind to see what is happening here .I contractor goes and quotes a job which has a defects liability (warranty)period .And he gets paid for the works he has completed .The some months latter the works fail while under the defects liability (warranty) period .Under normal circumstances the contractor is required to come and fix said works under warranty at his cost. In this case this has not happened what we see is the contractor is charging who eva $115,000 to fix his problem(Failed works) citing he did not have time to put a UV coat over the job .This contractor has never placed a UV coat over any of his works in the past .
    We see in this post people are saying works in CHCH are also failing which I can say are linked to the same products and same contractor used on this job, I wonder if CHCH city council are going to pay the contractor to come and fix them as well.I dont think so
    This is a bad case which should be investigated

  • Kelvin

    Can they add a few furnitures while they do this?

    If I am walking instead of cycling, I would prefer a few resting spots, as the cycleway is quite long to walk.

    For example some chairs, and a few shading plants would be apperciated.

  • Adam

    This is entirely Bike Auckland / AT’s fault

    They cut corners to meet their scheduled opening date.

    The work that Bike Auckland do is great, and needed, however a higher level of thinking/management really is required

    “Bike Auckland chair Barb Cuthbert said the resurfacing was planned for January when fewer people would be using it. She admitted it wasn’t originally UV protected when it was laid down, because they were in such a rush to get it completed.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11771829

  • mike

    For those who are keen in the information about the forth coming works .The cost of the product to recolour this Job is $30,000 take that away for the $115,000 .That leaves you with a margin of $85,000 for labour .Someone is laughing all the way to the bank .Great work who eva is in charge

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