So Second Harbour Crossing or City Rail Link
Councillor George Wood posted this Facebook comment this morning after Minister of Transport gave the Council a free verbal spraying the other day: “Which project comes first? The Addtional Waitemata Harbour crossing or the Central City Rail Link?”
Actually the answer is rather simple – although the reasoning is long-winded. Whether using my submission to The Auckland Plan or not (Transport Section); wait hang on looking at my submission I have both the CRL and Second Harbour Crossing due for completion by 2025 as Priority Two Projects. That means construction for both projects MUST START by 2018 (which is consistent with my start date call for the CRL) to be completed by the 2025 date. Talk about two mega projects going at once that would kick along a mini economic boom in Auckland for around 7-years (actually it would do the city some good). And by having both projects being built and completed at once, it would fit into my “balanced” transport rationale approach AND allow the North Shore (Rail) Line to be brought on-stream some 7 years early (Aotea Centre to Takapuna, with the rest of North Shore Line coming on stream by 2032)
However if I had to pick one over the other, that answer is also straight forward: City Rail Link first then the Second Harbour Crossing. The reasoning as I said above would be more complex and has to do with how much life the existing Harbour Bridge has, and the fact car volumes on the Bridge have been gradually falling since 2005. So trying to justify a road only second crossing would be as daft as the current Holiday Highway up at Puhoi if private traffic volumes are slipping. However build the Second Harbour Crossing with rail included (the Busway will need to be replaced by rail by 2030 to move the vast amounts of people via public transport between the North Shore and the CBD (and beyond)) and you get an issue trying to connect the North Shore Line to the existing rail network without the CRL in position first. In short you need the CRL with Aotea Station in order to get the North Shore Line and rail section of the Second Harbour Crossing working.
So a split answer in the end to the question: A or B
I prefer both at the same time as I know Auckland and New Zealand can do it, it just needs a lot of political and economic nous to do it (which some of our current crop of local and central politicians on average lack right now).
So which you prefer – or something else in mind? Leave a comment below.
[Updated from Admin]
An unscientific poll now included (for those wanting to remain anonymous or not write a comment]