Option B not Option A
While attention has been squarely focused on the victory for the City Rail Link attention on the East West Link has escaped most the attention it should be getting.
In the Prime Minister’s speech not only did Key confirm the City Rail Link to start tunnelling in 2018 but also the East West Link to most likely start 2018 as well. You can listen to the Prime Minister being interviewed by Duncan Garner HERE. What was interesting as Transport Blog picked up was Key’s warming enthusiasm towards heavy rail (passenger and freight) which is ironic timing given the Trucking industry faces strife with lack of drivers.
Now seem we are talking trucks and freight bringing up the East West Link would be a prudent idea.
So the Prime Minister is confirming they want to build a $1.85 billion virtual truck motorway along the northern flanks of the Manukau Harbour – Mangere Inlet between Onehunga and Southdown.
This is the option NZTA are pursuing:
So we are going to put in an expensive motorway linking State Highways One and Twenty that will segregate Onehunga from large portions of the Mangere Inlet. What makes the matter worse is heavy industry is slowly vacating the Penrose-Onehunga industrial complex due to land pressures from the Isthmus that makes residential and commercial more desirable than industry. That is heavy industry is intolerable to high valued land commercial and residential seeks. As a natural consequence and as seen in New York City and London heavy industry moves to areas of a region where land is cheaper, less interference from encroaching residential and commercial usage and transport links are still adequate.
This means over the next thirty to fifty years heavy industry will decamp Onehunga-Penrose (light industry will remain) area to places like Wiri, Drury South, Takanini and the northern Waikato leaving the ground clear for higher density residential and commercial facilities. There is no point trying to preserve industry staying in the Onehunga-Penrose complex either as the subsidies will only get larger and larger as time drags on.
So what is the East West Link there for? Trucks or general traffic? Because if it is for trucks then we will be asking ourselves in 30-years time why on Earth did we do this given the movement of industry south.
Thus the question that one asks is then what is best given the Onehunga-Penrose area needs better connections than they have now? Well that would be Option B:
Option B is a beauty in that it utilises existing infrastructure already in place (and upgrades it) while still giving new infrastructure to allow direct and efficient access to the current complex from State Highways 1 and 20 (that is bypassing Mt Wellington interchange and Sylvia Park Road which Option F runs right into). Option B also looks to the present with the heavy industry currently there and into the future when residential and commercial take over through natural City evolution. More specifically we do not get a motorway segregating Onehunga and the future residents and businesses from the Mangere Inlet. Option B also makes it easier to bring rail over the Manukau Harbour if we are to bring some form of rail over it compared to Option F (still prefer Airport Rail to be heavy rail from Otahuhu).
As for cost benefits between Options F and B? Here is the analysis posted over from Transport Blog:
The reason why I don’t go for Option A as it does not include the Southern Motorway upgrades and bypassing of Mt Wellington needed to gain best efficient access with the East West Link.
Ultimately my message to NZTA is this:
Option B for the East West Link please not Option F
Option B – providing an East West Link for all futures!