Yesterday I showed you the plan being pushed by one local business group as an option for the East West Link. From many angles it was really horrific but when it comes to social impact, the official Option 4 as described below would probably be even worse.

We learned about the official options in June this year when Auckland Transport presented to the Council’s former Transport Committee. It was a helpful presentation because it finally gave us some insight into the different options that were being looked at for this project. One of the options outlined in the presentation was what’s known as “Option 4”. It’s shown below and apart from the route, what’s important to note are the key problem areas identified in the red explosion shapes.

East-West Option 4

When the implications of this option became clear there was quite a lot of community disquiet, including from Mayor Len Brown, who said that hundreds of homes shouldn’t be sacrificed for the project. There was also a One News item on the project a few days ago (click on the photo to go through to the video). Notice Auckland Transport say they will consult with the community around the middle of next year, that’s later than when the government will apparently be making a funding decision on the project which raises serious questions as to how much real consultation there will be.


We had initially thought that the uproar meant this option was basically a non-starter (reinforced by the fact that it’s actually a long way away from the problem areas, as shown in the map above). However, the “Project Auckland” pieces earlier this week seemed to include a concerted effort to focus on the East West Link project, which concerns us that perhaps Option 4 is not yet dead and buried.

So let’s have a look more closely at its route using the Council’s GIS viewer to get an idea of what would be impacted upon. First a few assumptions:

  • Required corridor width of around 60 metres which is consistent with the width of SH20A
  • Consideration of likely interchange locations (following what’s in the image above)
  • Full motorway to motorway interchanges at both SH20 and SH1

Let’s start at the Airport end:


To enable the links with SH20 and SH20A we see most of Mangere Centre Park being taken over. From there I’m expecting the route will follow an old and now non-existent designation towards the North East (it’s easy to spot if you look at the property boundaries). This almost isn’t surprising as I’ve also heard that for a while now the highway network team within the NZTA have been re-energised by the governments support and have been busy pulling out all of old plans to see what else they could get away with.

In terms of property impacts, if we’re just looking at the section west of Archboyd Avenue I see around 150 houses directly in the path of the motorway. Perhaps most significantly of all, the proposal would divide the Mangere East community – which is one of the most deprived and densely populated parts of Auckland.

Tracking further to the northeast, we can see where the motorway would roughly go next:


The impact on houses in this section is slightly less than before because we start to get into an industrial area. Nevertheless, by my calculations this section would involve the demolition of around 50 houses in the area west of Savill Drive (the road running northwest to southeast through the aerial above) and the demolition of around another 20 houses in the area directly east of the railway line. Clearly there would also be an impact on the industrial land and there’d need to be some major bridge/viaduct to get over the railway line and Savill Drive.

In the next section it’s a bit more difficult to interpret where Auckland Transport’s presentation suggests the route should go – and our impact on the neighbourhoods, schools etc. ramps up again. Here’s a best guess, including an interchange with Great South Road shown in blue:


Obvious areas of significant impact include on Otahuhu College – which loses its playing fields to a giant motorway – and on the large number of residential properties in this area which would need to be demolished. A quick count suggests that for this section alone that could reach around 100 west of Otahuhu College (a remarkably dense little area when you look closely) and then around another 80 between Otahuhu College and East Tamaki River – potentially more to mitigate the effects of the interchange with Great South Road).

After a bridge across the Tamaki River we come to the interchange with SH1 (approximate and likely overly conservative estimate of the extent of the motorway to motorway link is shown in blue) and the link with the existing Highbrook Drive. In essence, the impact of the motorway on this area is the completely destruction of the community of Wymondley including the local primary school:


The total number of houses lost in this section of the project is around 130 – it would be much more except this is actually a really low density area. As I said before, Wymondley Primary School would be demolished as part of the motorway to motorway interchange under this option.

Overall we see a total of around 530 houses in direct line of the proposed motorway, plus quite a few schools. That’s a huge impact – especially as Auckland currently has a pretty significant housing shortage. But perhaps the greater impact is when you consider where the project goes – right through the heart of many of Auckland’s most deprived and most fragile communities. Such widespread demolition, the enormous severance effect, the destruction of schools, the removal of open space in places like Mangere, the complete removal of the Wymondley community… the list goes on.

There is no doubt this is a bad project. It will be enormously expensive and worse it doesn’t actually go near where the problems are as all of the other information so far released describes the issues as being further North. In fact it seems to so completely miss the point you have to wonder why it is even an option at all. When you look at the map of everything being proposed (first image) the only explanation I can think of is that this is basically being designed as a motorway to get the residents of the Howick and Pakuranga area to get to the airport faster.

In addition to its cost and destruction it will also just put more pressure back onto the core of State Highway 1 between the city centre and Otahuhu (by directing airport to city traffic that way rather than via the Waterview tunnel) and most of all it will cut a swathe across a part of Auckland that needs our help – not complete destruction. In fact, because of its enormous environmental and community impact it’s probably even worse the Additional Harbour Crossing project. That’s one hell of a dubious honour.

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  1. Just wow. 1960s transport planning that Robert Moses would be proud of.

    This is horrific and we need to do everything possible to stop it.

  2. Billions of dollars. Thousands of people displaced. One of NZ’s most vibrant communities cut in half.

    This thing is an unnatural disaster.

  3. The good news is that opposition in Mangere is extremely strong. If NZTA and Auckland Transport had “consulted” us, they’d know that.

    This will shape up to be a huge political problem for the bureaucrats involved, and responsible councillors. They should start thinking about that.

    1. Apologies I could not be at the Community meeting last night – family cropped up. However, I am keeping a very close eye on Option IV and the situation George. It is of note Option IV is now ‘personal’ to me as I have both friends and family in the direct firing line of this 1950’s motorway proposal – that is no way needed in the 21st Century.

      I am also keeping a very close eye on Manukau Councillor Anae as he last said he “supported” Option 4. Whether that has changed currently I am not sure.

      I am also going to go on a limb and offer whatever assistance I can to the Mangere and Otahuhu communities as well as Option 4 is not fair in any regards George. Let me know how and I’ll see what I can do. As Fred said “This is horrific and we need to do everything possible to stop it.”

  4. Here’s an idea. Zone the land around Puhinui Road as industrial and encourage relocation to there. It already has good connections to the motorway network, airport, and rail. Plus with the land being right under the flight path it’s not ideal for residential. As businesses leave Onehunga/Penrose redevelop to high density housing.

  5. Complete (kŏmplī.t), v. 1530. [f. the adj., cf. Fr. completer.] 1. trans. To bring to an end, finish. 2. To make whole or entire 1726. […] 4. To advocate the extension, progress 2013. When employed by traffic engineers and right wing politicians in respect of the Auckland motorway network.

  6. At one point there was talk of the route going through King’s College, except it was going to be a tunnel under it. Hmmph! Bulldoze through the poor brown houses, but save the richest private school from harm… WTH!

    1. Kings college actually owns a number of the houses on mangere rd from gt south rd to otahuhu college. You’d think they’d keep them tidy, but the only clipped hedges and tidy gardens are at the kings college entrance. Kings college has a part in making the area look shabby.

  7. Great explanation of what this is all about, thanks. Destroying affordable houses to make way for an unaffordable highway. This is the worst transport project I’ve ever seen. What is the cost? What is the BCR?

  8. I need to declare an interest in this before I comment, and that is that my house is one of those sitting underneath those ‘lines on a map’.
    I have been despairing of Auckland’s transport planning pretty much since I started using public transport about 100 years ago, and this project is the most pointless, stupid waste of ratepayer’s money I can recall.
    There is absolutely nothing to love about this: as the post points out, it will demolish affordable housing in an already densely populated area; it will wipe out a significant heritage area in Otahuhu; it will take out schools and recreation areas (in an area already short of recreation space); and will essentially make refugees of many hundreds of vulnerable Aucklanders. How does this fit with the Southern Initiative, the Auckland Plan’s commitment to improving outcomes for low-income communities in South Auckland? Oh that’s right – it doesn’t. And how does this contribute to making Auckland the world’s most liveable city? Oops, doesn’t do that either.
    My impression is that the Mayor’s opposition is half-hearted, mainly because he seems to have brought into the Big Freight Boondoggle. If he doesn’t stop this, it will come back to bite him.

    1. One reason the mayor’s opposition may be perhaps half hearted, is that he is trying to avoid an all out fight with the government, a fight he cannot win. The government just holds too many of the cards, in particular the funding purse strings and key positions of power. So in response, all the mayor can do is negotiate for the crumbs from a government who will keep an eye on public opinion polls.

      The only way that the question of East-West Link Option 4 can be resolved, is for local transport to become a national issue at the time of the general election next year. A huge ask given that historically local transport does not make it onto the “radar” of a national election campaign, but honestly if this community is to be saved from the bulldozers, they need to get out and vote next year. And it may be that it is Green they vote for as extra insurance.

      1. I disagree – losing a spirited fight that people support can do oodles of good for your political mongrel. It isn’t like the government listens to him anyway, or will pay for the CRL anytime soon.

        That is Len Brown heartland. If he can’t be bothered to put up a real fight, why vote for him ever again? Construction will fall right into the next local government election if Nats stay in power in 2014, Len. Time to gird up and show some backbone.

        1. Yes this ought to become Len’s defining moment of this term… Especially as it may be his last one; what has he got to lose? This govt don’t listen when he turns the other cheek and plays nice. Time for the gloves to come off. Has he got it in him?

          1. Possibly Len’s defining moment. Perhaps also time for Penny Hulse and the rest of the team to step up with Len to show a united front on this.

            I’d like to see credible economic analysis done on this – does Auckland Council’s transport and economic development departments have adequate independence to be able to do this work? Or set terms of reference to commission a credible outside agency?

  9. Well here is an opportunity for the Mayor to get his [political] mojo back. He needs to get properly shouty about this.

    As Cam says:

    The wilful destruction of affordable homes for an unaffordable motorway. And unnecessary and undesirable.

    And clearly this is being kept very quiet then will e delivered as a fait accompli. Scandalous!

  10. David Shearer summed it up well when he said “John Key is out of touch with most New Zealanders” and by similar reckoning National.

    Nick Smith has been on the front foot pretending as hard as can that he and his government are working at solving the Auckland housing problem, all the while intentionally ignoring one of the core problems, foreign debt funded, tax fee investor housing purchases. And so with his freeing up state houses in Dunedin and Levin and a handful of projects with partners here and there that may never come to anything we see that his government want to bulldoze over 500 homes in South Auckland and run massively/ruinously expensive motorways smack through the middle of more suburbs.

    Clearly Mangere or most of South Auckland aren’t in the millionaires club and don’t vote National and by definition National don’t care about them.

  11. We, the residents of Mangere, Otahuhu and and Wymondley are mounting a massive, united campaign to stop this motorway madness in its tracks.
    Two huge public meetings recently launched a broad campaign dubbed “Respect Our Community”.
    The steering committee meet every week at the Mangere East Community Centre, 372 Massey Rd.
    We have circulated a petition throughout the entire area, and 10,000 copies of the first edition of our newspaper are currently being delivered to every letterbox by a vast army of keen volunteers.
    Your readers can:
    1. Like us on Facebook:
    2. Make a donations to: ROCC KiwiBank, Mangere East 38-9015-0367615-00
    3. Circulate copies of our petition, or sign the online petition at
    4. Join campaign events: The petition will be presented to Mangere MP Su’a William Sio at 10am on Sat 30 November at the Mangere East Xmas Festival, in the Village Green next to the Library in Massey Rd.

    Thank you for this informative posting MattL and your earlier articles – much appreciated.
    Together we will halt the wanton and needless destruction of our community.

    Roger Fowler, for the ‘Respect Our Community’ Campaign (ROCC)
    Email: [email protected]

        1. Will send you some money donation once home this weekend – PS: When asking for donations, it’s always good to tell people what it is intended to go for. People more likely to give if they know what for…

          1. Thanks Starnius – good point. The campaign newspaper appeal explains that the fund is to help cover the costs of printing the paper. All other work on the paper is voluntary.
            We intend to publish the next edition in December.
            Articles etc can be sent to ROCC PO Box 86022, Mangere East or by email: roc [email protected]

  12. I am still not sure what problem(s) this motorway is trying to address, and therefore can’t see why it is needed.

    The impact on schools is shameful and means that the motorway affects even those people who do not own property along the proposed designation. I imagine that King’s College would support their neighbour in this. I wonder if they’re aware of it?

  13. There are no words…:(

    Quite literally and insane proposition. It seems that the current government are doing their best to be the most destructive in our history.

  14. Only option is to tunnel, tunnel the whole way. Or train tracks to Pakuranga / Botany to Airport. I would like to see what further rail progress we could get for the cost of this unnatural disaster. Anyone like to put that together?

      1. Well Melbournes stage one east west tunnel of 4.4km is costed at$7-9 billion dollars AUD. So something similar. It’s truly frightening when two billion dollars is lost in the margin of error!

        Stage two brings the cost to a total of $15 to $18 billion, if you can believe that. Three million a day in finance costs FFS!

        All the same rhetoric, essential for the economy, about moving freight not commuters etc..

        1. Although to be fair that does seem extreme and makes you wonder if they are lining the walls in gold. Waterview is 2.5km of tunnel plus ~1.5km of at grade motorway and is costing $1.4b.

          As for option 4, it doesn’t seem to do anything for freight so that argument isn’t valid with it.

          1. For which does it seem Option IV is looking at moving the Eastern Suburbs faster to and from the airport then? If so – well your CFN has a solution to that already – or you could just build the Botany Line as a Vancouver Sky train based system for the particular area

          2. Since when did not doing anything for freight stop them using the freight argument for new motorways?

            In the Melbourne case the complexity comes from large interchanges at either end and especially from underground intermediate interchanges/ramps. Waterview is pretty straightforward in comparison.

          3. Yes, Ben.. option 4 looks exactly like a motorway to the airport for everyone from Remuera east. As I said at the time, I think the east Auckland is undercooked in the CFN. Buses not trains etc.. There is an argument that the best way to stop this kind of motorway is remove the demand through better PT.. make it an option too good to refuse! So, revisit this part of the CFN to address the issues raised by the business community? Which I believe isn’t all about freight. Most vehicles whizzing around this area (or not whizzing) are carrying one person and no goods.

            Failing any better PT, then let’s hope the communities affected can garner enough support to stop this one. Which makes me think.. we hear a lot about NIMBYs. But that word with its negative connotations isn’t remotely appropriate to anyone opposing option 4 currently living in Mangere, Otahuhu or Wymondley. They are rightfully defending a major slice of South Auckland from grotesque disfiguration and destruction. I wish them the same success as those who defended the Purewa Valley, Orakei and Hobson Basins from being permanently trashed by Banks’s (and Williamson’s) eastern motorway.

          4. It’s also not NIMBYism if you don’t think that the project should happen anywhere, rather than just not near you.

          5. Bigwheel,

            There is ALREADY is a plan to deal with the Highbrook and Eastern Suburbs area traffic – its called AMETI.

            And its under way right now – later phases call for a second (duplicate) 4 lane bridge next to the current Waipuna road one as well as a “flyover” linking it to Pakuranga Highway.

            This AMETI bridge will remove the explosion/conflict points at the Tamaki River which is a major problem for all traffic in this part of town.

            So tell me anyone, how does this new option (or any of them) actually help solve *ANY* problem thats not already being solved by some other project?
            Or could be solved by a much lower cost solution e.g. truck lanes in Onehunga.

            And it ain’t NIMBYism to oppose this on the grounds that its simply a gussied up solution looking for any problem it can solve regardless of BCR.

          6. ” As I said at the time, I think the east Auckland is undercooked in the CFN. Buses not trains etc.. There is an argument that the best way to stop this kind of motorway is remove the demand through better PT.. make it an option too good to refuse! So, revisit this part of the CFN to address the issues raised by the business community? Which I believe isn’t all about freight. Most vehicles whizzing around this area (or not whizzing) are carrying one person and no goods.”

            That is true tin we have an undercooked situation on “cross city” from airport to Eastern Suburbs with mass transit now and planned. Need to check the CFN better to see what Gen0 and Transport Blog had but I know both in 2010 and currently I pushed (or will be pushing) two different options in regards to this situation.

            The 2010 proposal was (when I was a Planning Masters student) was to build two heavy rail links to supplement the Onehunga-come-Airport Line. One was to create a link from the Eastern Line to the Southern Line allowing trains to run from Sylvia Park to Penrose directly forming an “isthmus loop” arrangement. To allow further flexibility I used a mothballed link that ran from the Southern to the Onehunga Line from the southern end (rather than the existing northern end) to allow if one wished Onehunga/Airport trains to come from the south. I explained it here: although I didn’t do refinements to an operation plan at the time.

            However, time goes and things change with no chance of even the Westfield East-North Link being built despite by the looks of it the designation being there.

            Enter 2013 and the Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre concept I am working on.

            As I presented to the then Auckland Plan Committee to allow rapid transit links between Botany and Manukay City Centre (a link that would be busy both directions), a Vancouver styled elevated “Sky Train” would be built in stages linking Panmure to Botany, Botany to Manukau, Manukau to the Airport and vice versa in return. as seen in this MK1 draft here (MK2 will be altering the Manukau loop section). As the rail line is elevated it is separated from all roads – which are wide avenues with generous medians for the most part any how.

            At least this way the Eastern Suburbs are linked by a rapid rail system to either go to the airport. Manukau, Botany or the CBD via a transfer at Panmure.

            Of course still refining this

  15. I just can’t get over this Unnatural Disaster. I don’t live in the area but this project is the worst of all worlds. Good luck with the campaign.

        1. It’s shown as it’s currently considered the main route from the CBD to the airport. Has been on the map since the RWC for all of the tourists that brought their cars with them

          1. Yes it does. Seems like a perfect route for another rung of the ladder. There’s talk of hosting another world cup after all.

  16. This is classic politics – give a solution that is really bad, get everyone up in arms, then give another solution that is less bad and everyone will be happier than if you proposed the 2nd solution in the first place.

  17. I just don’t get it at all. There is already a corridor that does exactly what needs to be done here it just needs to be improved and have as many SOV as possible taken off of it!

  18. Thank you JimboJones: yes we are very aware of that scenario. Our ‘Respect Our Community’ Campaign demands the abandonment of all the East-West options and threats to our neighbourhoods in south Auckland. Each option would result is the demolition of many houses and community facilities and greatly increased pollution, traffic, disruption and noise, and the carving up of our community into disconnected ghettos.

  19. I used to work Airport 1978-79. Live in King Country now due surviving serious M/cylist vs car. Yeah, been on TV! Interesting that after traffic jams or slow ups, every one gets away with space between & yet no cars added to or off M/way. Takapuna onramp classic & it’s just the same in2013.
    Puhinui Rd 30 yrs too late. SW M/way also 2Late but gr8 to use now…except for motorists who do not follow wise m/way practice as follows.
    Faster vehicles RH lane. Leave space for merging to acceler8 to m/way speed. Over take on Right! INDICATE your INTENTION, that’s way they’re called INDICATORS. Save alot of accidents. Poms know. Teach your kids by doing it right. Punish (ticket) offenders.
    People who zigzag thru lanes need tickets (& visits to Auckland Hospital). Amuses me you’ve legalised stopping on M/way by fitting your ill planned Lane Lights instead of monitering merging traffic & having slow to lane R lane arrows back up M/way when traffic merging (which is only good m/way practice). It’s easy technology.
    At Greenlane onramp a week back, poor Sonita was stalled with dicky starter (&/or batt conx loose). Hilux behind for safety (no where else to get by). Hordes of people & no help. Jumper leads 1′ short so I steer, lass & friend push, starts easy. Any of U could have helped !
    Saddest thing is your highways of National Significance has reduced Govt funding to the capillary roads of actual significance. Look after your neighbour. Fred H

  20. I am someone who has had a deep interest in the development of the Airport. I think that the connection to the airport is a major component of the East-West Link. And when we talk about the Airport, we need to consider two “airports”.
    The first “airport” is a place for planes to land and take off; through where travelers come and go. The first airport also provides an amount of freight movement – mail, courier, and high-value “shipments” such as electronics imports.
    The second “airport” is a private company of great finances and power, with control over a key infrastructural asset, and even provision to make by-laws. This “airport company” controls an enormous amount of land, far beyond the extent of its current runway and terminal. It wants to commercially develop much of this land. The main emphasis for this development is on having wharehousing and distribution. This theme may have been chosen because the airport counts as port (technically).for freight. Well at least for air-freight. My expectation is that the amount of wharehousing suggested will be way in excess, in comparison to the volumes and storage times required by airfreight. So large amounts of freight will be trucked in from the Ports of Auckland. And then it will have to be trucked out again.
    And that’s where the East-West link plays into it…….

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