There’s a wealth of interesting information in the documentation released with the City Rail Link notice of requirement notification last week. In this post I’m going to look at the extent of the proposed designation and any interesting elements to the designation that come up when looking at the aerials of its location.

For those not particularly familiar with the terminology being used, a designation is basically a legal tool to define land that will be required for the construction, maintenance or operation of a project like the CRL. A designation effectively overrides all existing controls of what can occur on a site so enables the construction of public works activities as well as placing a legal restriction on what can occur within that site (i.e. you need the permission of the agency placing the designation if you want to do anything on the land). It also potentially enables the compulsory acquisition of designated land through the Public Works Act. A notice of requirement is basically an application for a designation.

A set of aerials outlines the extent of designated land for CRL and therefore highlights some interesting aspects to the project. Let’s run through them starting at the Britomart end. crl-designation-1The most obvious element of the designation (areas within the orange line) is that the Downtown Shopping Mall is completely included, while the tracks have been located to miss both Zurich House and the HSBC Building. I’m not sure whether this means Auckland Transport will end up buying the downtown shopping mall site outright or whether some deal will be done about its redevelopment, but it is clear from the documentation that the CRL tunnels are far too shallow at this point for them to be bored and therefore a ‘cut-and-cover’ construction methodology will be used (requiring the shopping mall’s demolition). I view the mall’s demolition as an opportunity as it’s a pretty ugly building in a prime location.

Moving further south towards Aotea Station it’s clear that the section of Albert Street between Customs Street and Victoria Street will need to be completely dug up to put the tunnel underneath the road – once again through a cut and cover methodology:crl-designation-2Given the whole street is to be dug up, the opportunity here seems to be to put back something that’s a bit nicer than the current neglected streetscape that characterises Albert Street. Managing the traffic impacts of closing Albert Street, particularly the impacts on bus operations, will be quite challenging although thankfully by that stage North Shore buses will be using Wellesley Street with the 2016 bus network rolled out by the time construction of this section of CRL occurs.

Next stop (literally) Aotea Station, located under Albert Street between Wellesley and Victoria:crl-designation-3A couple of slight surprises here, especially at the Victoria Street end. By including the shops on the corner of Victoria and Albert streets I think Auckland Transport is probably buying themselves a pretty ugly fight in relation to heritage/character issues. The other thing I’d like to see is the designation extended across the empty site between Albert and Elliott streets, at least in the form of a ‘strip’ to connect the station with the corner of Darby and Elliott streets, which seems the best way to link the station with Queen Street. Perhaps such a link may be possible when the carpark is redeveloped, but it’d be nice having the reassurance of the link being included in the designation. Another report gives a bit more information on the location of entrances and exits to Aotea Station, shown below:aotea-station-access-pointsSouth of Aotea Station the designation is largely ‘sub-strata’, which I think means that the land is unaffected.crl-designation-4Under Vincent Street the tunnel runs within the road reserve, but further along the rail tunnels split apart further from each other as we get close to Karangahape Road station:crl-designation-5As you can see above there’s quite a lot of land off Beresford Street that’s proposed to be designated. I’m assuming that this is largely for the purpose of constructing K Road station and/or some sort of construction yard. Once the project is complete the designation will probably be pulled back to enable redevelopment of the land. I assume the historic church within the designation will be retained. Further along we have the other half of K Road station including quite a bit of extra land that is needed for a southern entrance to the station. I have highlighted the station entrances are indicated with red arrows:crl-designation-6This is the area where the rail tunnels (the purple and white lines by the way in case you hadn’t guessed) pass underneath the motorway system. Even though the motorway itself is in a gully the rail tunnel will pass quite a few metres underneath the motorway (enough for a drilled tunnel to still be OK).

The tunnel then swerves under Symonds Street so that it can line up for Newton Station:crl-designation-7Newton Station will be the deepest station on the CRL with proposed access by high capacity lift only (rather than escalators) to save on costs. I’ve shown the location of the entrance to Newton Station with a red arrow:crl-designation-8From Newton station onwards the focus is on getting back to the surface and linking in with the existing Western Line – thankfully with both east and west facing connections. The tunnel starts to get shallow enough that cut and cover is once again required meaning that this is the part of the project which results in the greatest requirement for property acquisition:crl-designation-9The area shaded light-blue above is the existing Western Line designation while the area bounded in yellow is what’s likely to need to be acquired for the project to proceed. Presumably after the tunnel has been “covered over” much of the land could be redeveloped (probably at higher densities than its current form) meaning that much of the property acquisition can really be seen as an investment.

The next map focuses on the east facing connection, linking towards Grafton Station – with probably the most notable matter here being the necessity of grade separating Normanby Road.crl-designation-10And finally panning to the west where we have confirmation that the new designation (in yellow/orange) now stops short of the Dominion Road overbridge – confirming that the Inner West Interchange station has been removed from the proposed project in all possible ways.crl-designation-11Going through the route in this level of detail really does highlight to me what a massive project the City Rail Link is and also how constructing it is going to be a very challenging engineering feat.

Over the next few posts I write about the CRL I’ll start to look at whether there are any ways in which the project could be further improved now that we know the details a bit more and also what some key submissions points to make would be.

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        1. If you are familiar with the area John, on te intersection opposite the top of Mt Eden Rd there is an empty lot with hoardings along the front, between an 80s vintage low rise office block on the New North Rd side and the strip of historic shop fronts. That is the entrance site.

          I do wonder if they aren’t missing a trick by having a concourse under the road and a second entrance in the next to Galbraiths pub (which is included in the designation).

          A further thought, with all the cut and cover going on could they not include an entrance to the south in the same works? Following the rail tunnels a hundred metres or so would bring you out almost at the existing Mt Eden station.

        2. At the moment, this lack of an access east of Symonds Street MAY be driven by 2 things:

          – the eastern side is designated (and already owned by Council anyway, I believe). So an access there is “future proofed”

          – actually showing / including the access in the current designs probably adds a few million costs, without changing the benefits IN THE CALCULATIONS. We all would tend to agree that having an access on that side would be beneficial. But in the BCR calcs that are bandied about, these things are unlikely to appear – costs for it however will.

  1. Looks like a new Mt Eden road overbridge will have to be built to fit the 3 or 4 tracks. Will cause a bit of trouble when everything has to be rerouted via Normanby Road for 6months or so.
    The residential apartment on Mt Eden Road next to the station seems to be the main residential block to go. Have managed t oavoid others, including the one on the corner of Flower and Shaddock St.
    Overall am very impressed how they have managed to choose the sites to be demolished as all being low value, or empty sites.
    The Victoria/Albert one is the only issue, I wonder if they could keep the shell of the building and drill down inside it.
    Maybe they didnt want to take the bungy site under this process, but really hope there is a nice entrance plaza built here, extending to Darby St.
    Would of also been good karma to demolish the AA centre instead! although the lowrise part is not big enough.

    1. Agree from a construction / people transport perspective – and a cut & cover near the surface should actually be pretty quick. Though note my comment earlier on – they may be reluctant, at this stage, to include costs that provide limited quantifiable BCR, even if they are obviously beneficial. We don’t want to come out of the NOR process with the estimated costs being another couple hundred million dollars more, so National can scream some more how financially irresponsible this all is.

      1. I think there are big issues with service relocation. For example a large diameter storm-water line goes right down the middle of Albert St, so that stormwater will have to go somewhere while the street is being dug up. Same issue for sewers which are gravity too so more complex. Water, Telecom, Fibre, Power and Gas will also have to be dug up and relaid, potentially multiple times.
        I assume they would do one section (say 50m) at a time to minimise disruption.

        1. Given that, it may be a good time to look at the wider infrastructure around the city centre, and put in place some dedicated tunnels for such things as stormwater, sewage, power, etc, rather than having them buried in dirt.

      1. +1 for that. Even better: let them build their fancy new building, then go into the basement and “accidentially forget” to place support props when digging underneath.

    1. Yeah, it looks like they take out the Mexican Cafe but leave behind the 15 floors of whores. I guess the planners prefer something else more other than mexican food 🙂

      1. No reason why you couldn’t have the station entrance at ground level and the basement, with the 14 floors of brothel above it. Put the station entrance on the Victoria frontage and the brothel entrance on Federal.

        Get them to build it into the design now, and they can lease it as retail for the next few years until it is needed for the station.

  2. Great news, pretty much all of the property to be demolished needs replacement so both the city will improve and managed properly the cost of acquiring it should be more than covered, especially the blight that is Downtown.

    Agree Nick that there must be entrances on both sides of Symonds St for Newton Station, great opportunity to build on that little carpark on the corner, afterall pubs shouldn’t have car parks now should they? But also subway entrances on only one side of busy streets simply encourages users to rush across the traffic to get their train, surely AC/AT don’t wish to be responsible for that. The elevators can have two surface stops one for the under road connection to the east and one at street level. Also entrances need to be visible and, ideally, multiple for added convenience.

    Looks to me like some negotiation is happening with the owner of the car park site on the corner of Vic and Albert: clearly any development there would want to connect its retail floors to the busiest station in the city…. And of course Aotea Station wants entrances close to Queen St too?

    Looking froward to the end of that ugly and low value Council car park right next to their huge underground one, that corner is ripe for development!

    In terms of bus routing during the digging up of Albert, well I guess Queen St will have to be used, time for bus lanes and bus priority lights to make it flow for the new quantity of buses.

    Then once the CRL is open we can remove the buses and the cars as an instant dividend of the project!

    1. At Newton I think the elevators should come to a single concourse level just below street level, where people can then spread out to two or three exits and use regular stairs/escalators/lifts to get to the surface. The idea of jumbo express lifts to the street doesn’t sit right with me, I can foresee all manner of congestion issues without a larger space and multiple exits to even out the lumpy mass of people. What happens when 200 people are dropped onto the footpath and all wait at the lights to cross together?

      1. Yes, this exactly. Multiple exits from a concourse are best for connectivity to the neighbourhood. I also think there should be a stair option in Newton, and not just for for egress. My experience with lift access to underground stations is that it was often quicker to jog down the stairs than wait for the lift…

        1. You’d be doing a lot of jogging – at 42m difference, that’s the equivalent of going up/down aat least a 12-14 s tory building!

        2. Yes that calc did cross my mind, but assuming the lift concourse is 6m below street level, and there is another concourse a level above the platforms they discharge to, it is perhaps a 32m flight of stairs. Still a lot of steps (approx 178 @ 180mm riser)…

        3. Put in a slide, perhaps wrapped around the lift wells, that would make it a pretty quick and fun way to get down 😉 It would draw people to the station just because of it.

        4. I lived in London in the 80s which we now know was a low point in the life of the Tube coming at the end of the sustained underinvestment in the system caused by 1. Britain’s post war poverty, and 2. the fashion for only spending on roads and cars. Looking back it was extraordinary that the thing worked as well as it did… pre-war wooden cars on the Northern Line etc, anyway the lifts were often out of service being unimproved early twentieth century models that had to run day and night. I have clear memories of trudging up the stairs at Covent Garden and Hampstead Heath; it’s doable, in winter though you get rather hot with the extra clothes! A lot more people than in AK and no doubt none of the egress standards we’ed have to build now…. good for your fitness too.

        5. Well they need to build emergency egress stairwells regardless. What would be involved in making those stairs suitable for regular use I wonder?

        6. Hi Nick – the current thinking apparently is to NOT provide emergency egress stairwells, but rather provide for the lifts to be fire rated and certified as suitable fire exits. Not sure what that entails, and I am sure that there will be the odd stair anyway – but apparently not to the size required to serve a station in either the normal sense, or during an evacuation scenario.

        7. Arguably, that could be an elevator. Showing an exit is not the same as defining how they will exit, isn’t it? But as I said – I’d expect there would be SOME fire stairs, just not the size and number you’d expect. Or maybe they will abandon the “mostly elevators” concept eventually. But it is what I heard, and they specifically mentioned elevators for fire escapes.

        8. There will also be the Mercury Lane exit which is much lower and may noy involve lifts at all, I hope there are stairs there, I like stretching out and not waiting for lifts….

        9. as has been mentioned using stairs is generally almost as quick, and good for your fitness and waistline. I spent 7 weeks in Tokyo this year, and without any particular intention lost about 7 kilos. Back in godzone it didn’t take very long for it all to go back on…

        10. One difference though is I have heard the ground conditions will not allow for a single cavern station like is seen on the photos you have shown. Instead they will be expanding the area around the bored tube enough to enable side platforms to be built then they will link the two platforms by way of cross tunnels with the lifts (or escalators at K Rd) emerging on to one or more of those cross passages.

        11. Surely we can dig a big bloody hole in the ground, even if you have to get prisoners to do it. You could have a below street retail leading into the station etc. I just can’t see how lifts will be high capacity enough to get passengers to/from the station and go straight to street level. You only need a few prams and osa’s in there to really crimp the capacity. Sounds like an f-up in the making here, especially with long term patronage growth.

        12. Covent Garden on London’s underground seems to just about to manage with lifts direct to surface from the platforms. I think there are 3 but I have taken the “emergency” stairs a couple of times up to save on the queuing. Oxford circus or even Leicester Square have the ticket hall below street level ad multiple street access ways allowing for a public subway connection as well as access to the trains.

          The Aotea station (with side platforms?) would hopefully have allowances for stacking of the North Shore line underneath at 90 degrees allowing direct access to both directions of travel from each platform, and with minimal distance to interchange ie up or down 5 meters in height makes transfers really rather simple.

        13. Pete, not a great example given Leicester Square is such a short distance away and is recommended to avoid congestion. Also aren’t TFL planning to add escalator access?
          Further if the lines are stacked at 90 degrees then this would probably eliminate the need for lifts, as you’d be doing quite a bit of excavation work, so may as well link it to surface or subsurface with escalators.

  3. Oh and while we are at Newton, I wonder if there is more potential on the block between Symonds, Khyber, Burleigh and Mt Eden Rds? Right now most of the block is covered by a series of water reservoirs, about 13,000m2 of the site is covered in one to two story tall water tanks, including most of the street frontages. With an underground station over the road that will become prime real estate. I wonder if they could replace the four low rise tanks with a single one in the middle of the site (say 3,000m2 and six stories tall) surrounded by a service lane, and wrap it with high rises on all sides? You could even do something neat like grass and plant the top of the tank to create a new park.

    1. If land prices rise enough to finance the expensive re-build of the tanks – why not? I presume they are in Council ownership via Watercare anyway.

  4. Khyber Reservoirs 3,4,5 and 6 are indeed owned by Watercare and provide 71700 m3 of storage and maintain supply to Newmarket, Newton, Ponsonby, the CBD and the North Shore (probably about 2/3rds of it). The number 2 reservoir, built in 1925, was demolished in 2010. 3,4,5 and 6 were built iin 1957, 1968, 1980 and 1991 respectively. Collectively, the reservoirs are the second most important in the city, after those down in Redoubt Rd. Aside from historical reasons, it is important to have multiple reservoirs so that individual reservoirs can be isolated and serviced without significantly increasing the likelyhood of water shortages. Demolishing the reservoirs would cause enormous water supply risks for the city. I’d go so far as to say it can’t be done without prior construction of a similarly sized and centrally positioned reservoir complex.

    1. Thanks Adam. What I had envisioned was demolishing the most central one of the four (presumably we can manage on 3/4 capacity for a limited time), and replacing it with a ‘four pack’ of silo like high rise tanks with the same total volume as before. The remaining reservoirs could then be demolished and buildings developed around the four pack.

      1. Alright, lets have a look at this. The reservoirs as they stand have a depth of water about 7.1m, so to condense the four into the space of one, you’re looking at a structure roughly 30m tall (allowing for reduced capacity through internal walls, overflow structures and so forth). Design considerations would include the nightmare tasks of avoiding cavitation issues and a structural design able to resist earthquake loading under a 300kpa static load. Apart from these issues, the main problem is hydraulic. Redoubt reservoirs (from which Khyber is most fed by gravitation through the Hunua 1,2 and 3 watermains) are 116m above sea level. Khyber reservoirs are currently 99m above sea level, plus the 7.1m of water in the reservoir, so water can flow downhill. Make the reservoirs any higher, the water pressure drops and hence the flow rate decreases (though this won’t be so much of a problem once the gigantic 2m Hunua 4 watermain is connected). Make the reservoirs more than 17m above the ground level at Khyber, and no matter how big your pipes, water won’t flow into them at all. So you’d need to install some tremendously grunty pumps, which would have their own associated costs and risks – not to mention the challenge of retrofitting the existing watermains to allow this to happen.

        Lastly, given the population growth in the area, the Khyber complex doesn’t provide enough storage any more. Consequently, a new reservoir will likely be built on the ground of the old demolished Khyber No 2 within the not too distant future.

        1. great explanation. Looks like the Urban rooftop park might be the best we’re going to get. This area is lacking in parks within a 5min walk for lunch breaks, so would work really well.
          At least hope they can get rid of the Symonds/Mt Eden Frontage carparks and replace them with wrap-around shops or park. Carparks shifted to Burleight St which will have to be confined to being a dead zone if it is going to have a 200m concrete block wall along it for the rest of its life. At least put a mural on it or something! Same goes for all frontages to this, could be a cool public art spot.

        2. I know that the Symonds/Mt Eden carparks are already owned by AT, so there shouldn’t be any problem there. The roof of Khyber No 4 (Alongside Khyber Pass) is already used as a carpark, I don’t see any reason why the roof of the adjacent Khyber No 5 reservoir couldn’t be used as replacement carparking, especially since the ramp is already in place. I suppose the roof might need reinforcing, I don’t know if a structural study has ever been done on that.

          I agree entirely about the art, they’re ugly as sin at the moment.

        3. Thanks again Adam, so the major constraint is the height of the waterline?

          Ok, so how would this work: Working in stages, replace each of the existing reservoirs with ones where the waterline is 15m tall. Allowing for expansion to 100,000m3, this requires a gross footprint of around 85m by 85m (7,225m2), after allowing about 10% of the volume for structure. That’s about half the land area occupied by the existing structures, which is still enough to allow the whole block to be wrapped in tall buildings around the frontage.

          The real question is how much it would cost, and whether that was less that the 7-800m2 of land it would free up.

        4. Looking into this, there shouldn’t be any structural issues with a 15m tall reservoir using modern techniques. However, by increasing the height to 15m, you might still have some hydraulic head between Redoubt and Khyber, but it won’t be much. During normal operation during the day, you’d probably be looking at having the reservoirs somewhere in the 80% range, so your head will be about 4 meters. I’d need to look at my hydraulic equations, but I just don’t see 4 meters of head driving as much as a third of Auckland’s water daily through the network as it stands, perhaps once the Hunua 4 is completed, this would be feasible. Another thing to consider in this situation however, is that even if flow isn’t an issue, the slow velocity of the water in this situation (considering Redoubt Reservoirs are over 25km away by the shortest watermain route) causes problems of its own, because it drastically reduces the response time. If a spike in water demand requires more water to be produced, it can already take as much as a day before the water reaches Khyber (A signal is sent to Cosseys or Wairoa Dam to release more water, which then takes 3 hours to reach Ardmore, more time to be processed and released, travel to Redoubt and then through the network to Khyber before flowing to either the Domain or Ponsonby reservoirs and finally coming out of the tap in the office on Queen Street). To avoid the risk of water shortages, the longer response time scenario will essentially require a proportional increase in required storage and before long you’re right back to where you started unfortunately.

          It seems to me that in order to free up land at Khyber, you’d need to provide an equivilent amount of storage either at Ponsonby or the Domain (which carry their own issues), or be prepared to pay for it through both the costs of the scheme you’ve outlined and also the installation, retrofitting and operation of a permanent set of booster pumps somewhere along the line between Redoubt and Khyber.

        5. Cheers Adam, I find this all quite fascinating. It’s an aspect of Auckland’s infrastructure I have almost zero understanding of.

          Ok so thats feasible, if a little expensive especially if some jumbo booster pumps would be required…. But what about the other way, what are the level differences between Newton and the Domain and Ponsonby reservoirs (does it feed anything else?).

          Like could you dig down five metres instead, and only rise up half as much?

        6. Uhmm…. drive some piles through the reservoirs and build an apartment block ABOVE the whole thing? Sure, there’d be some losses in volume, but it’s all engineering, not magic. It’s the question of whether it’s financially attractive, not whether it can be done.

        7. My understanding is that you could actually probably ‘move’ the capacity at Khyber to Ponsonby. there are two out of service reservoirs there already (On the corner of K-Road and Ponsonby Road – the nuclear peace mural forms the facade along one of the walls). The reservoirs are filled with sand, and are in need of refurbishment. Watercare is reluctant to do so, because unlike most reservoirs around Auckland, it doesn’t actually own the land. The lease runs out in a couple of decades from memory, at which point the land owner will likely want to build something more profitable.

          With respect to Khyber, as I said earlier, they feed the Domain (78m above sea level) and Ponsonby reservoirs (75m or so), and through them, the CBD and most of the central city. Khyber also acts as a sort of staging point for water across the bridge to the North Shore (Some NS water is from Huia Treatment Plant and goes up past Hobsonville, but most of the water supplied to the north shore goes through Khyber). Khyber also backfeeds to Mt Eden reservoirs when they’re running low.

          Sometimes the problem with digging 5 meters down is that while you eliminate the problems upstream, you can create problems downstream because you’re reducing the pressure head from the reservoir. Though, if your keeping the free surface of the reservoirs at the same level as they are now, and effectively just adding extra storage below ground, I don’t see any hydraulic problems. As for how much you could raise or lower the Khyber complex while maintaining adequate water pressures, you’d be looking at some fairly extensive hydraulic modelling of virtually the entire network.

  5. At the presentations it was said that one lane on each side of Albert St would remain open during construction.
    The tunnels pass 6m below the CMJ.
    The carpark on Beresford St is intended for construction laydown.
    I’d like to see 4 enterances at Newton, providing access from the north corners of the Kyber/Newton/Symonds intersection, and each side of Symonds at the Symonds/Eden/NNRd intersection.

  6. It mystifies me why they’d designate heritage buildings in town AND Hopetoun alpha on beresford.

    Surely they’d be seeking allies rather than making enemies? Who is in charge of this ffs?

    1. Designation does not mean demolish or even alter, more to do with the site that includes those buildings. I would say there is zero chance of harm for Hopetoun Alpha. They do need that car park site to work from though.

      1. Thanks PR, good to know.

        And who would think that car park site would ever turn out to be useful! Hopefully it can be base for all sorts of construction in and around the K Rd Station.

        Anyone heard word of a Myers Park – station access? Station is pretty deep there and m Park take a hell of a dip in the middle…

        1. Nope, think it’s just Beresford Sq and Mercury Lane. Myers Park would be difficult because you’d need a whole third entrance with an underground access tunnel and escalators etc, don’t think you could just tack on to the Beresford St one.

          What I’d like to see is some sort of footbridge/underpass combo crossing the motorway to Beresford St central.

          The car park site will no doubt be built on after the station is opened, immediately the land will be worth so much more.

      2. “What I’d like to see is some sort of footbridge/underpass combo crossing the motorway to Beresford St central.”

        You mean… JUST like NZTA’s proposal to change Nelson Street off-ramp into a walk/cycleway linking Canada Street to K Road to Nelson Street, with a little side bridge onto…Day Street, just hundred meters away from the station? Damn, I have the CMJ Masterplan document in front of me, but can’t find it anywhere online (just older version which didn’t have the visuals for the Day Street link).

        1. Yes, I believe there is a render of it somewhere in the city centre master plan, the green ramp or whatever they called it… my addition to that is a path from the far side of Beresford St Central under the northbound lanes (all on bridge structures I believe) then a ramp or stairs up to the abandoned off ramp to complete the link… Plus a footbridge straight across from Beresford square would be better, K rd and Hopetoun bridge can easily have their own access down to the old ramp.

  7. Can anyone explain to a simple person like myself why the tracks have to diverge so much around PItt St and the K Road station but stay tight from Britomart to Aotea?

    1. Britomart to Aotea is cut and cover so the cheapest thing to do is have them as close together as possible. South of Aotea will be dug by the TBM so it might be for easier TBM drilling that they are further apart.

        1. Yes at Newton and K’Rd. Important at Newton in particular as the running patterns rely on transfers there between the western and southern lines and centre platforms make that so easy, especially with the frequencies that will be running through the CRL.

  8. Have there been any indications from the council about what potential redevelopment could occur to some of the land that is demolished for the cut-and-cover portion of the tunnel? Particularly the large stretch of Albert St which is to be dug up.

    1. The only thing I’ve seen is the urban design report that basically states the road will be reinstated to a higher standard of urban design. So presumably that means a top notch street upgrade, but nothing fundamentally different.

  9. While this project looks great – could we start with some of the Southern bits of the project eg grade separation of the level crossings at Rd and Normanby Porters Ave? These mini-projects form part of the CRL, but would provide current benefit for the Western Line and the foot, cycle and car traffic in the area.

    1. Good plan, now that we know what the track needs are here these road projects could go ahead at any time. As trains have priority at level crossings grade separating them largely benefits road, cycling, and walking users most so shouldn’t these works come from the vast AT road budget?

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