Auckland‘s Transport Mega Projects
Part One – The Gist
And so the Prime Minister has announced around $10 BILLION worth of transport mega projects in Auckland for the next well I believe 30-years (at this rate). As soon as the news came out there was scenes of euphoria as well as hand wringing and maybe some blood-letting somewhere too.
In a three-part series I will be looking at this mega announcement for these mega projects from my view-point and what it means from my angle for Auckland.
In Part One (this post) I will look at the actual announcement which entails what is on the plate for Auckland’s Transport
In Part Two I will make comparisons to Key’s announcement to my Auckland Plan submission made nearly three years ago. One could take it as pure coincidence or one could send an invoice to someone for this kind of stunt. In any case I will take a look at the comparisons as it left me rather shaking.
And in Part Three I am going to go tickle Dr Levy and Auckland Transport. Key threw down the challenge to bring the CRL forward to 2017 and in my opinion it is the right challenge. AT have had their ball off the rail game for too long now and I believe the term “tickle” might be a bit “polite” after AT was given a chance for help to get rail’s flagging fortunes around earlier this year.
Part One – The Gist
The announcement has been made, the projects listed, and everyone having an opinion on this one way or the other. Lets take a look at the projects now on the plate:
From the NZ Herald’s: Government reveals shape of Auckland’s transport future
Mr Key confirmed that Government would back Auckland’s three top transport priorities –
- the City Rail Link,
- another Waitemata Harbour crossing,
- and the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI), which includes the East-West Link.
Also included were:
- A motorway-to-motorway link between the Upper Harbour Highway and the Northern Motorway at Constellation Drive
- Widening of the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Papakura
- Upgrade of the State Highway 20A link to the airport to motorway standard
You can see the Map of these projects in the embed below:
Okay so it’s a massive road fest with the CRL being the only major public transport project there is (that is new and not part of AMETI). The Second Crossing will be at first a road tunnel with rail being able to be added later. This rail part of the crossing would form what will be known as the North Shore Line. The North Shore Line connecting the North Shore (by replacing the Bus Way) to the CBD via Wynyard Quarter and Aotea Station (which is being built as the CRL).
In all honesty listening to the PM yesterday in regards to the Second Harbour Crossing, it would have been wise to build the rail part of the crossing at the same time as the road part to kick-start the North Shore Line. You might as well while the construction teams are there rather than having to recall them 10 years down the track making it more expensive than building it at the same time. Of course the North Shore Line at first would have been from Aotea Station to the Esmonde Road Interchange but, over time it would have extended down the Bus Way to its ultimate destination; Silverdale.
There was also another missed opportunity yesterday apart from the North Shore Line being started and that was the Botany Line. The Botany Line was a heavy rail line that would have followed the Eastern Highway from Panmure Station (now part of AMETI) through Lagoon Drive and Pakuranga Road, along Ti Rakau Drive to Botany before bending around at Botany and heading straight down Ti Irirangi Drive and connecting up with the Manukau Line and Station. An effective South Eastern Loop (and I hear the cultists screaming already). In saying that the Eastern Highway was a missed chance too with this East West Link down at Penrose/Onehunga distracting the Government’s attention.
The Eastern Highway itself would have provided a bypass off the Southern Motorway for those wanting to get to or from the CBD that come from south of Otahuhu and Manukau, as well as a route for Port of Auckland freight trucks to get them off the Southern Motorway and Grafton Gully as well. As for the Botany Line it would connect the disconnected Botany and Howick via rapid transit system to both the CBD and to the Manukau CBD as well. The Botany Line would have also via the Manukau South Rail Link (that AT needs to haul backside on) connected Papakura and Pukekohe to Botany as well and vice versa.
I also see the Airport Line has been buried by the Mayor for the moment as the CRL and road feast get brought forward. Not particular fussed right now on the Airport Line at the moment as I deemed it a Priority Two (to be completed by 2025) project in my Auckland Plan submission, and it was noted that the particular project only go ahead if deemed feasible at the time.
But as for the Southern Motorway widening between Manukau and Papakura! YAY and FINALLY! That piece of Motorway is a total dog in the bottlenecks it causes in one of Auckland’s fastest growing areas. Rule of thumb is if I am not back in Papakura by 3:30pm if I have used the car to go north then I am going to be stuck in traffic for about 45mins to cover a 3km trip. This is because we have 5-lanes of motorway (State Highway 20 and One merge at Manukau) merge into two lanes 2km down the road at Hill Road (Manurewa). This foul up is the primary reason for the rat running along Redoubt and Mill Roads (causing that widening project to be triggered) as well as the Great South Road.
Now that this widening project (in both directions as the Takanini Interchange is also a complete dog) is on the top of the list, this transport constraint can be finally removed. It also means AT can go bury the Mill Road corridor project for a while as well and put residents minds at ease from that sorry project.
So there was some good news amongst the announcements yesterday – especially the Southern Motorway widening for the South!
And so we now come to cost and where does the $10 billion come from. Might wait until Minister of Finance Bill English comes back into the country and ask him that. He is overseas at the moment and I wondered if he just swallowed a dead rat as John decided to do a Muldoon and err Think Big (with the cheque book). Still as a nation (not just as a city) we need to think where the money will be coming from and if maybe some of the projects need a re-jig.
Your thoughts and comments below. As I am aware emotions are running high at the moment please bear in mind your comments before you hit the Submit button. Play the ball not the man.
You can see the main reactions yesterday in:
- Opposition says 2020 not soon enough for rail link (radionz.co.nz)
- Big projects aid revival (nzherald.co.nz)
- Auckland’s transport future (nzherald.co.nz)
- Auckland to get second harbour crossing (stuff.co.nz)
- PM signals next generation of Auckland transport projects (national.org.nz)