The additional Waitemata Harbour crossing is a crazy project for a variety of reasons. The blog has noted before that the project is both completely unaffordable and totally unnecessary because of the lack of the actual benefits when you look at the detail. One thing that hasn’t been noted before however is the huge environmental impacts this project will have the coastline, both and the northern and southern end.

In 2010 an extensive study was carried out, which outlined the major options, looking at both bridge and tunnel options. This was the study that finally put an end to the even more ridiculous bridge idea. Usefully the study for the first time provided some detailed plans of what each option would look like on the ground. The issues is not so much the tunnel itself, but the complex arrangements required to allow for traffic merging between the different routes at the north end south ends. To recap the existing bridge will be used only for city bound traffic, and the new tunnel will be directed straight to the congestion at spaghetti junction.

AWHC north of Onewa

The plan above shows the motorway between Akoranga Drive (left), and Onewa Road (just out of picture to the right). The northernmost line is the railway line, however would be sure to take up much less space just built as a rail corridor, and would have a much higher capacity. The red hatched area is all of the land that would be reclaimed, while green is new viaducts or bridges. This would result in the corridor taking up twice as much space as it does now. As for what this would mean, this is the current view in the area. The large area of coastline to the right would be reclaimed.

Looking north from public footbridge accessible from east end of Exmouth Road.

This next plan shows the area in the vicinity of the Onewa Road interchange, as well as the tunnel portals of both rail (left) and road (right). Again a huge amount of reclamation occurs.

AWHC Sulhur Beach

However what is hidden beneath the plans is the total destruction of Sulphur Beach and the marina located there.

Looking towards the city from public path alongside motorway. Accessible from Sulphur Beach and Tennyson St beside police station.

Currently this beautiful area is not well known. However in a few years this will very likely change. With Skypath to go ahead within the next few years, this will be the route of Seapath, which would give a great easy link through to Takapuna. Once that happens people will appreciate this area much more, and won’t like to see it disappear under 6 lanes of motorway.

This area will also become a large construction yard, potentially for about 5 years. This will have major effects on areas of Northcote Point, with a large number of houses looking straight into the area. Their seaviews may well be replaced with views of more motorway lanes and flyovers. People on the Bayswater side of the harbour would also have their views affected negatively.

View from Beach Road on Northcote Point towards area of sea to be reclaimed

On the south side of the harbour things aren’t much better. Around Westhaven marina there is yet more reclamation. The yet to open Westhaven Promenade will have to be completely rebuilt, with part of the marina needing to be reclaimed as even more width is required to account for the sweeping motorway curves. The extra width required is highlighted by the need to extend the Jacobs Ladder footbridge by about 50% so people can still cross the motorway corridor. A number of marine related businesses along Westhaven Drive will also disappear, as the road needs to be pushed north to give the corridor the space it requires.

AWHC Westhaven

The Landscape and Visual report prepared for NZTA summarises the issues that will arise:

The landscape of Shoal Bay and the northern sector will be significantly affected by the scale and magnitude of roading and reclamation. Effects are: changes to landforms and natural features including increased separation of the bay from; loss of beaches, reefs, and open spaces; impacts on cliffs (including diminution of scale and loss of vegetation); loss of natural vegetation and potential change due to weed infestation; diminished/decreased experience and appreciation of natural landscape for travellers. In addition structures such as flyovers, bridges, tunnel portals, buildings and vent stacks are all expected to have adverse effects on existing landscape character and alter the balance between the natural and manmade landscape. The cultural and heritage of the existing landscape will also be affected by changes in the southern sector, particularly in and around Victoria Park. Such changes will include loss of buildings and trees but could also include positive effects due to the removal of the existing flyover.

Unfortunately it makes no attempts to actually visualize what the effects would be, including the vent stack, which would be a very dominant feature. Note 35 metres is about 10 stories high!

” Vent building estimated to be 70m long by 30m wide by 20m high and stacks 35m high”

The stack was rather contentious during the Waterview proposal due to the fumes of a high volume of traffic all begin released in a concentrated area. They will be located at the tunnel portals. One will be in the vicinity of Sulphur Beach, near where the second photo above was taken from the walkway.

Vent Building north

The southern vent stack will be between Beaumont St and Westhave Drive, where the Crombie and Lockwood building is (opposite Air New Zealand).

Vent Building

While an additional rail crossing will require some small reclamation, it will be a large magnitude less than what is required for the road crossings. This is because 2 tracks take the same space as 2 motorway lanes, and there will be no need for complex ramps and mixing of lanes, and of course there will be no need for huge vent stacks.

Hopefully this post will highlight a number of the major effects this project will have on the environment and landscape. Surely this will make some North Shore, St Mary’s Bay and inner city residents think twice about the need for this project, considering the effect on their backyard and harbour. This should also awaken reporters, including one John Roughan who was horrified at the sight of a comparatively tiny reclamation for the busway in 2007.

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  1. John Roughan, what a prognosticating turkey, the sheer moral outrage he has at the bus way reclamation is a good read, and as you say that will be but a drop in the bucket compared to the real McCoy – the AWHC road tunnel.

    From that Herald opinion piece (which was written in 2007, before the 2008 election), really sums up the whole situation nicely, in way that Roughan could not have seen at the time.

    “… A change of government can change much.

    It would certainly change the relationship of the public and private sectors. Private schools and tertiary training, private health and accident insurance, private security and prison services, private transport and roading projects would probably all be able to help the country’s development in ways that are not made welcome now.”

    How true this was, yes these private industry “market is best” know-alls have really made a huge difference in the last 6+ years haven’t they?

    And of course those roading projects like RONS and the WRR and this planned one – the AWHC, road crossing are certainly “helping” the country’s development in the 21st century – basically helping us all into penuary for 50 years – for which our descendants will be both outraged and hugely disadvantaged by this sort of thinking. Just like we are about the CMJ today.

    The last line of his piece is a real hoot:

    “The busway, for example, could be a fast lane not just for old-fashioned services between terminals but for taxis, door-to-door shuttles and private cars, all running on biofuel and carbon-credited of course.”

    All assuming of course that people don’t actually, you know, ride those buses that will use the busway eh John?
    And we know that people of your ilk are still lobbying even today for taxis and the like to allowed access to the bus way to ensure it fulfils its destiny as a private, tolled “Lexus Lane”.

    The real question is how transformative for Auckland will any AWHC crossing actually be?

    Compared to the original harbour bridge (as a similar scale and similar potential game changer) – and as a roading project, not really a lot, we already have most of what it will deliver and this will just deliver even more of the same in a way we can’t really use as a very large cost environmentally and financially.

    But as a Rail link – it will have a truly massive impact, as much as the original Harbour bridge did in its day.

    And the real transformative effects for another crossing will come when both the CRL and AWHC (as a rail only crossing) are completed, the synergy from these two projects to allow a rail link up the “spine” of the North Shore will be massive longer term. And something we will be thanked for delivering.

    And (more to the point) it won’t bankrupt the country while we’re doing them both and in fact, will allow Auckland to grow and fulfill its long promised, but seldom achieved, potential as a world class city quicker than yet more roads for more cars, all the while keeping the motorways and roads we have clear – clear for the people who actually need to use them.

    1. Shoal Bay is already ruined, quite spectacularly, by the current motorway!

      It must have been said before but the actual Harbour Bridge is not the issue here for traffic flows, it’s too many vehicles on the adjoining motorway. Well that and the basic skills of driving a motor vehicle. Its quite usual for trucks for example to stay in the extreme right lanes, going slowly up the bridge in the centre lanes where many car drivers get too scared to undertake (or overtake if possible) and everything slows down in an ever increasing ripple effect.

      Similarly there are the basic skills lacking to use merging lanes fully and at speed or to stay left and or to maintain the speed limit that see 50-60 km/hr speeds up the hill because they struggle with the concept of pushing the throttle down more! Tidy up these tiny but important matters and things will improve.

  2. It will be interesting to see if the residents of St Mary’s Bay and Northcote have anything to say on this matter.

    Considering how upset some of them are at the prospect of a bicycle Skypath running through their neighbourhoods I wonder how they will react to a concrete mega-fest blotting even more of their landscape and lowering their property values?

  3. This will never be built.

    Imagine the reaction to this from the sensitive souls in St Marys Bay and Northcote point!? People that are reaching for their QCs over the thought of a few cyclists sharing the existing bridge….

    But in this case they’d be right, what on earth are the benefits? And the megalomania of those design details.

    Furthermore they’ll love the additional rates burden Aucklanders will have to carry when the Bridge is duplicated and is no longer a State Highway and we have to fund its maintenance locally.

      1. If the AWHC car crossing is built, that becomes SH1 and the bridge becomes a local road, thus maintenance is fundable by rates.

        1. As will happen to the existing section of SH1 between Puhoi and Warkworth when the Holiday Highway is built.

      2. Because that status will be transferred to the new tunnels, the Bridge just becomes a vast overscaled offramp for the city; a local road. In exactly the same way as the current unsafe SH1 north will become an Auckland ratepayers burden when the Holiday Highway duplicates it and takes its SH status away. Duplication of a SH is no free lunch for the local territorial authority; they get new costs and lose rateable land.

    1. Patrick its not the thought of these cyclists and Peds sharing the bridge, that they can manage, its “sharing” of their neighbourhoods with them that they really hate.

      This (slightly oldish) story from the US repackaged by the Telegraph recently, about rich neighbours blocking access to Malibu beaches is now undone thanks to a Smartphone app that shows where the access ways are and confirms the publics right to access, is basically the extreme version of the same thing.

      I love this bit, from that article:

      “While none of the residents have commented publicly, word has filtered out that some are indeed, not happy. There have been reports of tourists spoiling the million-dollar views by urinating, starting bonfires and drinking.

      One long-time Malibu resident on Carbon Beach said: “The homeowners have concerns. When you’ve paid $10 million for a property you expect something exquisite, and this is exquisite. But you’re going to have all the 22 year-olds coming here and smoking weed on the beach. Most of the tourists are nice people but they’re going to leave trash behind.”

      Hmm, sound a familiar argument, so these guys basically hate “environmental damage” – but only at a local level, they don’t mind it at a macro level, by say, building all over the sand dunes and destroying the ecosystems that existed there. And it appears the same goes for the North Shore and St Marys Bays crowd too – they’ll object to noise and visual clutter, while ignoring the elephant in the room (above their heads?) which is 100 times worse.

      And no doubt any AWHC plans will only make them seek the nuclear option.

        1. Yeah, thats a “Sydney Harbour bridge abutment” sized exhaust stack, which is what Sydney used to mask one of its exhaust stacks when they put the tunnel in.
          Of course we don’t have any such convenient structure to hide them in like that.

          And of course, while 35m high buildings on the south side are ok – they’ll merge into the background clutter (when seen from the North Shore), but on the North Shore itself where anything even 1/3rd of that height is shot down in flames and rejected outright as ruining views?

    2. “This will never be built.” You are damn right there Patrick. People only come out with stuff about the harbour crossing to give an impression that something will be done and that they care. The whole political trick is to never spend more than a few hundred grand on reports. Doing nothing is the win and quite rightly so. They might even get as far as a designation one day but no one has any intention of building. I mean look at the cost! There are far cheaper and more effective ways of buying an election than this thing.

  4. Fantastic post Luke. The John Roughan article contains this gem about the busway:

    “Eventually it could be a tollway for general traffic, the only reliable solution to congestion.”

    John, general single occupant traffic is the cause of congestion, not the solution.

    1. Roughan is like a perfect negative barometer: If he’s against it, it’s most likely the right thing to do, and if he’s for it; it’ll be last century’s solution, tried and already failed.

  5. So by environmental effects they actually mean the view? The existing ‘coast’ is the edge of the motorway and to put it bluntly- there will be another one!

    1. the post focused mainly on landscape effects as a component of environmental effects, there will be other issues like effects to coastal processes, sedimentation of the harbour, discharge of more pollutants into the harbour and from memory there were some endangered/ threatened wading birds that roost in the shell banks in the area.

      1. Still pretty weak though isn’t it. If you look at the first photo above you can see that what is there. A rocky batter and some mangroves on a shoal. There is plenty more shoal there in Shoal Bay. When people say environment they really mean “we dont want a road by us”. That is a reasonable view- I wouldn’t want one either. Slugs, snails, birds or rare algae are the cause they adopt as it sounds more selfless and worthy and has a better chance of stopping something. But I wouldn’t worry no one will build this in our lifetime.

        1. Did you miss the part about the fumes and the road contaminants? Or is is a coincidence that the worst air quality readings in Auckland closely correlate with large roads and motorways nearby? I don’t dismiss your point about people adopting “worthier” reasons to oppose things, but there’s massive environmental detriments both locally and regionally about this.

          And the “no one will build this” will not hinder this from freezing various other projects and getting hundreds of millions of money wasted for initial work, property purchases and design / approvals. WASTE.

        2. Ok that is a fair point. So maybe it should read “The proposed tunnel will have much the same impact the current road does on Shoal Bay, it will annoy some local people and stuff their view and the current plan has all the air pollution being concentrated at two points – someone should fix that.”

        3. “and the current plan has all the air pollution being concentrated at two points – someone should fix that.”

          I have an idea. Do a rail tunnel, and put electric trains into it. End result, LESS pollution than before, due to car travellers mode-shifting, and the remaining car traffic flowing better.

          There, fixed it for you.

      2. the highlighting of landscape effects was to show the effect the project would have on the coast and potential for pollution of harbour. These would be somewhat ‘unseen’ effects but just as important as the landscape effects. Of course many Devonport Peninsular residents very much opposed to reclamation for the port, but this even more in their backyard, especially on the Bayswater side.

  6. Has there been any mention of tolls so far with respect to the AWHC? I’m just thinking that if the tunnel was tolled then the Bridge would still have to give through access between the Northern and Southern motorways otherwise there would be no non-toll alternative to the new SH1 alignment.

    1. Exactly. And that removes any chance of an elegant small footprint through-route, got to have full swooping m’way speed interchanges. The more you look the crazier it gets.

    2. > if the tunnel was tolled then the Bridge would still have to give through access between the Northern and Southern motorways

      Well, it would still give that access: drivers would get off the bridge route at Cook Street, turn right on to Hobson Street and then rejoin the Southern Motorway. But you just know loads of people would do exactly that. It’d be nuts not to toll both crossings. If there needs to be an “alternative route” then surely the Upper Harbour Bridge is enough.

  7. “With Skypath to go ahead within the next few years, this will be the route of Seapath”

    Actually, even the announcement of a potential fast-tracking could be death to a cycleway along the shoreline. Can you see NZTA spending money on a route along Sulphur Bay right in the path of their future tunnel works? Even though the cost of such a path is chump change compared to the AWHC, they will be extra hesitant to do this now.

    1. “Prime Minister John Key has shot down Labour’s prediction that he’s going to announce the Government favours a tunnel for Auckland’s second harbour crossing”

      The plans above look like they came from the same artist that proposed the Basin flyover.
      There appears to be a lot of opportunity for simplification, like deleting all the sweeping motorway connections to the harbour bridge. It just needs to connect with Fanshawe St, and the northbound tunnel can continue from the existing VPT.
      Back to the drawing board I think.
      It was hard to believe that Bill English would allow the spending of $5B.

  8. Great post Luke C. To any government stupid enough to dump this on Auckland – you are not going to win this battle.

    We are in the process of completing the western ring road which means “game over” as far as this nutty AWHC proposal is concerned.

    We will have our alternative to the harbour bridge to the north via the north-west. I believe, that was supposed to be the main route north as originally conceived in the early 1950s, running along the Northwest Motorway and across the top of the Waitemata.

  9. One thing nobody talks about these days (we seem to have forgotten about it) is climate change. At present rates of uptake it will be the 2040s before NZ approaches a fully-electric fleet. In the meantime, we’ll see huge preventable emissions, which have real impacts.

    It really bothers me how climate change is only required the most cursory of consideration.

    1. But you must know that Climate Change is just so, out of fashion! Anyway, we are going to be a ‘fast follower’ aye.

        1. ….and its all a natural process anyway, nothing we can do about it, and there is no need to change any part of our motor-mania lifestyle.

          …..except there is that little annoying twinge of guilt that must be lurking at the back of the minds of our “movers and shakers” who really, really would prefer not to talk about it at all.

    2. Plus from a practical point of view, there is no way we will be able to replace all cars on the right currently with electric vehicles. The availability of batteries alone would be difficult. Plus lets remember the huge amounts of energy required to build a car and the materials involved. There are 7 gallons of oil in a car tyre for example.

      I would be surprised if we managed to replace 20% of our current fleet with electric vehicles.

      If we had more share cars or perhaps very lightweight vehicles – scooters, tuktuks, electric bicycles – we might be able to have more private vehicles. But the SUVs and large cars of today simply wont be financially sustainable for the majority.

      1. Are the 7 gallons of oil used as a physical input to the rubber process or are they used as energy to make the rubber? I mean can they be substituted or will it be wooden wheels in future?

        1. From what I have read, it appears that is just the actual oil incorporated into the tyre. I don’t think it counts the energy used to actually manufacture it.

          Note that a truck tyre comes in at 22 US gallons or 83 litres of oil.

          Plus the huge amounts of water used to manufacture the tyre, let alone the whole car.

        2. …and even huger amounts of water at the refinery to refine the oil that goes in the tyre and fuel tank of the vehicles the tyres are on.

          Then theres the Colorado river size amount of water that goes down the frackked well to flush out the oil so it can be sent to a refinery…

        3. I am almost looking forward to replacing my car with a barouche so I can visit Queen Street and let the nags shit in the street. It will smell sustainable.

        4. Yes of course, because the transport options for human being are:

          1. car
          2. horse and cart

          It’s a shame that an otherwise intelligent person has to make such unintelligent statements in order to prop up a POV they are finding increasingly hard to justify. Why not stick to evidence and well thought out arguments?

        5. well there is a 3. bus but I try to never use it because A/ I can’t see out beacuse of the stickers so end up car sick. B/ nutters sit by me too close and talk (that even happened in France and very quickly it was too late to explain I couldn’t speak french), C/ religous people ask me the time then ask me if I want to go to their church, D/ people might think I haven’t done very well for myself because I am still riding on the bus and E/ the bus doesn’t go where I want to go or get me there when I want to arrive. But in 20 years I will have a gold card and won’t care how long the trip takes so maybe I will change my mind.

        6. mfwic I’ve caught the bus every day for the last 10 years and not one of the above has every happened to me even once. Just good luck, obviously.

        7. People might think you haven’t done very well? I’ll tell that to the CEO of Air NZ next time I see him on the NEX. In the meantime I suppose I’d better stick to lining up for the motorway in a 15 year old jap import for my one hour drive to work with all the other winners 😉

        8. Oh dear that is sad. No form of transport can help you with your insecurities.

          In the words of the great Eleanor Roosevelt: “no one can make you feel small without your consent”

      2. “I would be surprised if we managed to replace 20% of our current fleet with electric vehicles.”

        Prepare to be surprised. Nissan has recently dropped the price for a Leaf by $30000 and used Leafs have started to be imported from Japan. Recharge points are popping up around the Auckland region.

        1. Even if every single new vehicle imported to New Zealand was electric it would still take eight years to replace just 20% of the fleet.

          About half our car imports are ten years old from japan too, even if bevs went mainstream this year it would take about two decades for them to be an appreciable fraction of our fleet.

        2. “even if bevs went mainstream this year it would take about two decades for them to be an appreciable fraction of our fleet.”

          That depends on what your estimation of “the fleet” will be in future (in the context of PT improvements, increasing fuel prices and decreasing VKT per head figures) and what you mean by “an appreciable fraction” of the fleet. Given the context of the discussion (reduction of climate change effects) one could expect that the emissions reduction will be more than proportional to the proportion of the fleet that BEVs make up. We have 4 vehicles in our family and by the end of the year one of those will be a BEV. That vehicle will do the bulk of the travel leaving the others for more specialist work (orchard work, long trips etc).

          I don’t see past vehicle buying and holding habits being a good indicator to future trends. There seem to be moves to stimulate BEV uptake from AT (based on a presentation at a careers evening at AU from an AT employee charged with rolling out re-charge points across Auckland) and opinions from retailers that the government is applying pressure to drop prices.

        3. What’s your point? That today’s trends and data are going to be the same 10, 20, 30 years down the track?

    3. And furthermore re: climate change, will the proposed new motorway approaches be built high enough to prevent flooding in the coming decades?

      It is already apparent that the existing motorway will have to be raised in due course. Just observe how close the occasional super-high tides come to the level of the current road surface at Shoal Bay.

      1. Ah, so we’re futureproofing after all! Soon our coastal roads will be underwater, so we should probably start building underwater tunnels now.

  10. I heard that the Vic Park flyovers have concrete cancer and need to be replaced with tunnels, so even if the rest of the tunnel doesn’t go ahead, the flyovers will be replaced with vent stacks.

    Why is it called concrete cancer anyway, it’s not like the concrete is growing out of control? Surely it is more like concrete Osteoporosis.

    1. Well they did say they they were dying then when the then Minister wanted four lanes south for a cheaper price they suddenly found they could be patched up…. no word on for how long however….

      1. Funny how the existing viaduct was full of malignant cancer when they *had to* tear it down to build a replacement six lane viaduct… But when they got a resounding ‘tunnel or nothing’ response suddenly those four lanes of viaduct are just fine for the southbound traffic and only a one way tunnel was needed…

    2. Concrete Cancer is caused by the leakage (rain and contaminents) and causes rusting in the concrete of the metal reinforcing bars (rebar).
      As these are mostly steel, as and when they rust, the Iron Oxide (rust) created takes more space than the steel did, this makes the outer layers of the rebar expand in size, and this causes the concrete to stress and crack, which lets in more rain which makes the problem worse.

      Normally the materials in the concrete are quite alkali due to the presence of calcium in the concrete, so this counters the effects of water and rust which are acidic, but in countries that use a lot of salt on roads and/or that experience frequent freezing conditions, the cracking and resultant cancer becomes quite a serious issue and whole lumps of concrete can drop off the structures.

      In NZ, other than where rebar is exposed to the elements this sort of thing should be rare indeed, and in Auckland, unheard of I’d think.

      So any old excuse to build more roads.

      1. The usual fix is to knock off the loose bits, sand blast the rusty bits, paint some rust killer on and reconcrete over like they did on Grafton Bridge. It will eventually happen to every concrete structure except the Beehive where they used stainless rebars. (Pity about that really)

        1. “The usual fix is to knock off the loose bits, sand blast the rusty bits, paint some rust killer on and reconcrete over”

          Sounds exactly the same process NZTA follow for all current motorways when they need to add more lanes.

    3. the existing flyover does have a vent stack, but it is tiny because tunnel is very short. Build a several km tunnel and you will need much bigger vent stacks, that will become a local landmark. Also interesting to look at local wind patterns, western fringe of the CBD not in need of more pollution in a concentrated space.

  11. I’m guessing the AWHC would take a much bigger bite out of the harbour than PoA’s proposed wharf extensions that everyone was against.. even the bigger one they proposed originally. And they didn’t have 70 m x 30 m x 20 m (and 35 m) blocks on them. Right there in front of St Mary’s Bay. Or traffic barrelling along spewing fumes.

    To me it seems incredulous that it could possibly go ahead. Funnily enough I think in some ways the silver lining to the HH, if it goes ahead, is that it could spell the death of the AWHC.

  12. It is quite amazing how the tunnels really ruined Sydney Harbor – Kiribili and the CBD. Property prices sunk through the floor and tourists stopped visiting because of the environmental impact and diminished views. Same in Hong Kong.

    1. Argumental fallacy.

      The fact that visual impacts may be limited to locals, and that pollution impacts may be wide-spread but not really noticeable in the background pollution don’t make a project good. Or cheap.

      May I remind you that Hong Kong has some of the worst air pollution in the “western” world? Adding tunnels won’t have helped with that. They are popular as a destination DESPITE adding more traffic and fumes, not because of it. What if they had spent the same amount of money on high-class PT and walking and cycling projects?

    2. they sure would of if they had to reclaim large swathes of Kiribili, and block views of the harbour bridge with a 10 story high exhaust stack. Or there would have been international outcry that would have stopped this. You clearly haven’t looked at the plans above. The tunnel isn’t the issue, it is the reclamation all the way from Akoranga to Northcote Point that is. Also vent stacks can be fine if have somewhere to hide them, but the proposed locations sure won’t be hidden.

      1. So, a rail tunnel produces less pollution, is less impactful on the harbour, can be realigned towards where people actually live, delivers just as many if not more transport benefits, produces less CO2 emissions, and has cheaper capital and operating costs than the proposed road tunnel?

        Is that correct, and if so why are NZTA and Auckland Council (AT) recommending this expensive motorway tunnel??

        1. DB, they’re reflecting the current political climate. These things change. The other thing that is changing now, and fast, are the facts on the ground for rail n Ak. This, along with continued shifts in car use are two most powerful forces that will, I believe, make the road tunnel option untenable and the rail only crossing slowly build as the only viable course of action over time.

        2. It was interesting watching that same process in action when the Channel Tunnel was being argued over back in the 1980’s. British PM Margaret Thatcher was adamant it should be a full-blown motorway tunnel. She had the same roads-only view as Key/Joyce/Brownlie do today and she cherished a dream of being able to drive from England to France!

          Happily, practicality took over. The rail tunnel went ahead and was achieved, albeit with massive cost-overruns and near-bankruptcy (due to Mrs T’s similar insistence that the private sector had to finance it). One shudders at the likely disaster if she had fully got her way!

  13. Given that NZTA have been caught seriously fudging the figures with their Basin Reserve Flyover case (7 minutes of claimed time savings when the truth was actually only 90 seconds!), what confidence can we the NZ public have regarding any of NZTA’s cost justifications?

    If the present govt was less ideologically driven to build roads at any cost, it would put the brakes on all of its roading plans and demand a re-assessment with the same level of scurtiny that the Basin Flyover received. No way would they be ploughing on with Transmission Gully and Puhoi-Wellsford with the high likelihood that NZTA have seriously overstated these cases too.

    Watch out for the NZTA fudging machine to go into overdrive with the AWHC.

    1. To counter the NZTA fudging overdrive and the politics.. to stop the AWHC will need a similarly comprehensive, organised, dedicated and professional project team like the Basin Reserve Flyover opponents assembled.

  14. What about a network of ferries and water taxis? They do this in so many other cities, why can’t we? We need to get people off the roads and on to public transit ! We need a comprehensive GOVERNMENT OWNED public transit system, not a series of private companies ! Government owned enterprises can operate at a loss if necessary, especially where they can recover their losses in other areas. For example, less traffic = less pollution = less asthma and respiratory conditions aggravated by pollution = less stress on the medical system. OR Less cars on the road = less wear and tear on the roads = less road maintenance required. ETC.

  15. Reading Roughan’s comments I finally understand one thing.

    I’ve never really thought about it that well, but I’ve often wondered why some people are so opposed to anything rail to the extent they’ll grudingly support a dedicated bus way instead of the evil rail alternative. I mean they’re clearly not the person going to use either. Why should they give a damn? If anything, the bus way often risks taking up space they could use for their beloved motorways/roads (which applies to rail sometimes, but not always, e.g. the CRL).

    I mean I understand that they’re sometimes so blinded by their POV that despite the fact they’re intelligent adults, they have trouble seeing all the evidence that demonstrates they should support PT. Because even though they may hate it with a passion, it generally works far better at relieving congestion and ensuring they can drive their can anywhere without being stuck too much (even if they have to run a few red lights….) And of course this also means they have trouble seeing the evidence that rail often works far better as a form of PT.

    The reason for their extreme hate of rail remains basically the same. They hate money being spent on rails rather than their beloved roads because they use roads even if not for public transport, this I sort of knew even if I didn’t really think about it that much. But what I realise now is that this carries over in to the bus way arena, not ?just because they’re blinded by their love of roads and hate of rail, but because in their utopian dream, a busway can easily become a transit lane or even better (for the wealth ones like Roughan anyway), toll lane.

    I probably would have realised this if I’d thought about it properly, I know how desperate they generally are to turn bus lanes in to transit lanes because they’re not congested enough. (T2 is of course the best since then mum and child or husband and wife can use them and I use those terms because they’re probably how they generally think.)

    I guess one thing is that few besides Roughan and perhaps those openly of the ACT persuasion so openly talk about wanting public toll roads, at least in to the city. (Generally they seem to want more and more roads, without talking about how they’re going to actually relieve congestion or how much it will cost.)

    P.S. I should clarify that I’m not completely opposed to congestion pricing, just the model Roughan seems to dream of where the primary purpose appears to be to provide a fast service for the wealthy instead of to help fund an excellent PT network.

    1. @ NIl Einne :
      You are right, this whole subject has become incredibly polarised with ideologies. I find it interesting how those of us who advocate for better public transport and less focus on perpetual expansion of the highway network, are somehow branded as “anti car”. Often it is insinuated that our aim is to “ban cars altogether”, and “remove freedom of choice”.

      I think this says a lot about pro-car / anti-public transport idealogues that they feel the need to resort to these extreme, nonsensical accusations. As if they feel somehow threatened by any viewpoint that fails to revere the car and affirm its dominant position in society as they themselves do. I don’t know if they really believe that “Not building new Motorway X”, equates to “Taking away everybody’s freedom to drive forevermore”, or if this is just a childish ‘straw man’ thrown up because they have no better argument.

      Fact 1 is, neither PT advocates, Greens nor most environmentalists have any remote intention to ban cars or stop people driving. They (we) merely seek a sensible re-balancing of priorites which for too long have given road transport virtually the whole cake.

      Fact 2 is, the “Cars Are King” lobby has mostly had its own way in transport decision-making for the past 50-60 years, at least in the English-speaking world. Understandably, no one who has been ‘on top’ for so long likes the idea of losing their position of dominance. Hence the absurd and irrational arguments that many C.A.K. advocates will put up to try and kick down any challengers. Just listen to the howls of anguish going on in Wellington over the Basin Reserve decision. One would think the sky had just fallen in!

      1. > Often it is insinuated that our aim is to “ban cars altogether”, and “remove freedom of choice”.

        Whereas the ultimate goal is perhaps the exact opposite – to simply change the frame, so we see cars as a burden rather than freedom. To make them unnecessary, rather than unavailable. A hobby, even – you’d own a car the way you might own a boat.

    2. > why some people are so opposed to anything rail to the extent they’ll grudingly support a dedicated bus way instead of the evil rail alternative.

      When I talk to people like that I get the impression it’s more a prejudice that rail is automatically vastly more expensive than buses, so if we’re going to “waste money” on public transport we might as well waste as little as possible. They don’t consider the value for money because they assume the value is zero. Public transport is something that is automatically horrible – you wouldn’t use it unless you were too poor to drive, or worse, had some weird quasi-religious environmental obsession that makes you hate yourself and want to suffer.

      I think this attitude explains a lot of projects that end up being only barely useful, like useless little stubs of bus or cycle lane. They’re not intended to be useful, they’re intended to be a begrudged sop to “the greenies”. I assume that’s also why bus lanes and cycle lanes are painted the same colour…

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