It is good to see NZ Herald transport issues writer Matthew Dearnaley back on deck, as I had severely missed the Herald reporting on transport matters recently. Today’s article looks at the CBD Rail Tunnel, repeating a reasonable amount of what I posted on a couple of weeks back:
Upper Symonds St joins rail station plan
Underground station sites being considered for a $1 billion-$1.5 billion central Auckland rail tunnel have been extended to upper Symonds St.
Consultants conducting a $5 million investigation study for KiwiRail and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority for a 3.5km tunnel between Britomart and Mt Eden believe three new stations should be built to maximise patronage and rail access to the inner city.
Albert St-Mayoral Drive and Karangahape Rd have been proposed locations for some time for the other two stations, but Symonds St is identified in a progress report as a major catchment for rail passengers.
The consultants have shortlisted two almost identical sites, both reaching between the intersections of Symonds St with Khyber Pass Rd and Mt Eden Rd but at slightly different angles, depending on the eventual tunnel alignment… [rest of article here]
…The latest report from the consultants – a consortium of AECOM, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Beca – expects the tunnel will make “a critical contribution in lifting the entire region’s and country’s economic performance”.
That last paragraph is particularly interesting, as it notes the tunnel’s potential to make a huge difference to the economic performance of Auckland, and even the entire country.
What I find is also fascinating is how this project’s timing is aligning itself quite similarly with that of the Puhoi-Wellsford “holiday highway”. The cost of the two projects is also likely to be fairly similar – at around $1.5 billion. The money is probably there for one of the projects, but is unlikely to be there for both. So I guess the challenge for public transport supporters over the next while is to help prove beyond doubt that the CBD Rail Tunnel is a far better and more sensible way to spend that $1.5 billion than a motorway up north that only carries around 15,000 vehicles a day.