A 1950s book that we discovered at work has some really interesting aerial photographs of Auckland overlaid with some of the transport plans at that time. One plan in particular I find quite interesting, because it shows how Auckland’s spaghetti junction was envisaged to look. It’s worthwhile to note that route “E” was never built – quite thankfully as it was a motorway down Dominion Road and would have completely torn the heart out of this part of the city. I find it interesting to see how narrow all the proposed motorways look – simple white lines on the photograph.

It’s somewhat gutting to compare that with how things turned out – shown in the photo below. It becomes clear how much of the inner-city we lost by building spaghetti junction:

I shudder to think what this area might have turned out like if we had also built that Dominion Road motorway.

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  1. Some of those plans from the 50s were ridiculous, like building a motorway would only take a single line of houses and a motorway running near Manukau Rd from Remuera to Onehunga (which wasn’t even on the Master Transportation plan)…

  2. One thing that amazes me is how flat the area around the CMJ used to be. I always assumed they ran the motorway through existing gullies, but this seems to only be the case in Grafton gully and back by Arch Hill. The rest the just dug a huge moat in the ground.

    So when do we start decking over it?!

  3. Between Symonds Street and Upper Queen Street bridge seems the most obvious bit to “cap”. I wonder how much something like that would cost, and whether it could be cost-neutral with development on top of it.

  4. Pretty piss poor landscape planning by the looks. I too thought that they were current gullys that they built the motorway through. Apparently not.

  5. “The rest the just dug a huge moat in the ground.”

    Be happy they did. It would be even noisier for the houses not directly next to the motorway and harder to bridge, even MORE severance effects. Though I am not sure what the cuttings do for air pollution & noise close by…

    “I wonder how much something like that would cost, and whether it could be cost-neutral with development on top of it.”

    Too many random variables. Land prices can fluctuate to several times their value at time point X (unless of course X is already very high – at the moment prices are low, so even more volatile in some ways, though at least any calculation would be reasonably conservative).

    Also for better or worse, any such development would probably have to fulfill rather high urban design criteria, upping planning and construction cost, and possibly lowering maximum activity area. Not saying it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, but I don’t expect it to happen within the next 20-30 years….

    A strong peak fuel scenario would make it more likely – city centre areas would likely rise in terms of attractiveness quite a lot, while motorways would look less attractive.

  6. It makes me feel so sad looking at 1950’s and earlier aerial photos of Auckland. The whole central area looked so beautiful before it was wrecked by a sea of motorways. The new ‘whites aviation’ book has a few really great pics in it.

  7. Ingolfson, I suppose it is debatable which is the greater barrrier, a street level motorway or a motorway in a great ditch… probably either is just as bad. One thing to note is the final alignment was decided upon for the road geometry only, they certainly weren’t thinking which would be the most city-friendly alingnment.

    I’m fairly confident that one day the airspace over such a large area of inner city real estate will become valuable enough to make covering it worthwhile. There is simply no room for futher expansion in the corridor so why not cover it over? Even a small amount of development either side of the Queen St, Symonds St and K Rd bridges would go very far at reconnecting the city to it’s environs and lessening the impact of the interchange.

  8. “There is simply no room for futher expansion in the corridor so why not cover it over?”

    Because Steve Joyce needs it to be able to provide a two-level motorway? Six lanes one way underneath, and six lanes above in the other direction? Economic benefits all the way, baby.

  9. Thats not possible in the CMJ, the K Rd cut is completely full and the access ramps between the northern and grafton gully sections prevent anything else passing under Queen St. One thing we can be thankfull of is that she won’t get any bigger.
    The addition of a north shore tunnel may result in the West to North links being two laned, but the structure already exists for that.

    One plan I hear a rumour of was the reserection of an old idea to tunnel a westbound link between the southern (northbound) and the western (westbound) under alex evans st…. still that avoids the existing CMJ rather than going through it.

  10. Eh, its not like the Karangahape Road bridge has heritage protection. Bowl the thing! Or put the ramps over it. You are thinking way too small, Nick R. Imagine yourself as a minister who has billions extra to spend because he has just cut the PT funding band in the GPS after the 2011 elections, and sold off KiwiRail, Ontrack and Ports of Auckland (because we all know that Auckland assets = Wellington’s assets).

    Okay, I am ranting. Yet what is happening right now would have passed for a pretty outrageous rant in, say, 2006 or so.

  11. Somewhat unnecessary too. Originally the plans were to construct the “Western Ring Route” rather than CMJ and the Gillies Ave – Ellserlie section of the Southern Motorway. However, someone in charge of getting the Harbour Bridge funded was worried that it wouldn’t have enough vehicles to pay back its loan in tolls. Therefore, he demanded that the Harbour Bridge be linked with state highway one.

    Ironic that around a decade after it was constructed, the harbour bridge needed to be widened from 4 to 8 lanes

  12. I think all Auckland Citizens should read Urban Legend (The story of Sir Dove Myer Robinson) This clearly illustrates how wellington and CNR have held Auckland back from having a proper transport net work.
    These were the people who voted the tram out as it was causing congestion. (and bus lanes don’t go figure) Wellington stole 2 million of the harbor bridge money and that is why we ended up with a iron plate hot riveted bridge that was at capacity very quickly. It is a bit like the current rail way station if they don’t do the loop it will be at capacity in about 5 years.

  13. Oh dear, do you really pine about the loss of what would have amounted to another buxus hedged ‘froo’-as suburb brimming with SUV’s? I say THANK GOD FOR THE CMJ!! If not for it K’Road would indeed be another Newmarket or Ponsonby Road (barf!). Instead, its heritage has been preserved and its character well and truly alive! K’Road, thanks to the CMJ, is one of the final bastions of vibrancy in Auckland.

    Once Auckland has been totally stripped of its character with ‘tree lined boulevards’ and populated with even more NIMBY’s, once all of the artists and intellectuals have been forced out by insane property prices and severe lack of quirky/affordable spaces (i.e. spaces not tasteless enough to be occupied by the asforementioned buxus clippers with their greige/beige/dog-turd-brown colour schemes), I will cry myself to sleep.

    PS. This site has a bad case of the middle-class-malaise and should be abandoned for the greater good.

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