Auckland Transport have taken up an idea by Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse a few months ago and are marking out where the City Rail Link will go in a bid to raise awareness of the project, especially ahead of the enabling works which will be disruptive to a decent portion of the city.

Aucklanders using Britomart this morning found out exactly where their future journey could take them.

Bright red lines tracking across lower Queen Street don’t mark Santa’s planned path but instead show where the City Rail Link (CRL) tunnels will go when the project starts next year.

Adding a bit of festive spirit to the Britomart and QE11 Square, the painted lines mark the centre of each of the two tunnels that will be built from the Central Post Office, under Queen Street and the square before heading up Albert Street and eventually to Mt Eden.

Project director Chris Meale says with construction of the enabling works for the CRL only a year away, the red lines signal the approaching works.

“While there is a lot of work still to be done before then, the red lines will indicate to Aucklanders that the first stage of the City Rail Link is not far away.”

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse says she’s excited that there is a visible representation of where the City Rail Link will take Auckland and she’s eagerly anticipating a start on the physical works.

Mr Meale says the works will change the face of the downtown area for about three years. When the works start, buses will be re-routed, Britomart’s entrance will be relocated to the east end and through traffic will be diverted from Albert Street to provide access for tunnel construction. An information programme is being prepared in the lead up to the work

“It’s just a matter of time before Aucklanders will be able to see progress on our city’s number one transport priority. Tenders for the detailed design have closed with award planned for February,” he said.

Here are a few photos from readers this morning.

And this one from our good friend Sudhvir Singh who Penny credits with the idea.

CRL painting on ground outside Britomart

I grabbed these as I was passing through this afternoon. Good work AT, and Penny Hulse and Sudhvir. Sooooo many people pass through here. I did occur to me that lines showing the actual width of the tunnel might better than just the centre line? Anyone agree? [PR]:

CRL Marking_03

CRL marking_01

CRL marking_02

While on the topic of the CRL, there was this letter to the editor in the Herald today.

CRL Letter to Editor 22.12.14

Of course while the council may not have directly surveyed on the CRL it has come out on top after two local body elections and various plans and strategies that have been publicly consulted on such as the Auckland Plan, City Centre Master Plan etc. It is part of an integrated PT network and Aucklanders have overwhelmingly said in numerous polls that they more focus on PT and it has even had strong support in polling done by the AA. Finally while not a public survey on whether we should build it, the project also received strong support from the public in the designation process and even many who opposed specific elements such as construction noise stated they wanted the project built. It would have been good for Chris Meale to have pointed this out.

If the council conducted a formal survey on the project I’d be almost certain that people like the letter writer above would then just complain about the council spending money on a pointless survey.

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  1. Wish it was pushed forward it’s really already needed, if PT was given the same treatment as roads we would already have CRL, airport line, shore line and nw busway.

    1. Being a bit facetious here, but if PT were funded like roads we’d have the central part of the railway lines built first with isolated services taking people from one suburban local road to another, and that would be used as an excuse to throw more money at “completing the network” (eg linking the new track to the existing network at either end).

      Actually, that way of thinking, in this country, might just work…

      PS: Love what is happening here as well – getting visibility will help cement support for getting this thing of the ground.

  2. My gosh, three years. I hope they try to build each stage as quickly as they can and with the aim of minimising disruption. As much as I want the crl, these inner city areas are where I live. We’re losing a prime downtown square and a bustling and large retail community with the downtown mall. Please build it quick.

    1. From memory Henderson and Rotorua got hit even harder with them back in the 90s when these Australian pavers were in fashion here. I don’t mind the darker red ones around some parts of the Viaduct, in moderation, but agree about how bad the yellow ones look. You see cracked ones quite often, so I don’t think they’re a true engineer’s paver, just one with a lot of clay to sell.

    2. If your poo is that colour I suggest a medical check-up prior to Christmas.

      Does the tape/paint go the whole length of the tunnel or just the pictured parts?

        1. He also said Karitane Yellow, my friend. Generally not linked with AA Milne’s forest wonderland unless Christopher Robin has been feeling really unwell.

  3. I suspect disruption will be relatively minimal. Just wandering around a couple of Crossrail sites in London last month (Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street) for a way bigger project and I was surprised at how little impact it really has had on the fabric of a very dense city. Tottenham Court Road is the worst but you have to remember that its dealing with two existing underground lines as well as all the stuff on top. Amazing really. And quite scary waiting for a Central Line tube realising that a mere metre away a tunnel boring machine was ploughing through the clay.

    1. I was on Central Line the other day, and yea, it is rather unnerving when I realise the proximity of the engineering work for Crossrail ha. In fact, with Crossrail and Thameslink, the centre of London is criss crossed with tonnes of engineering work. It is a serious feat to see how minimal the disruptions are!

  4. Excellent idea showing new times on the ground that makes an impact.2021 toot toot coming through -Priority 1 done. Good work to political supporters and design team/Auckland Transport everyone involved for keeping at top of list it fully deserves to be there, benefits all of Auckland not just city Centre and via smart long term investment all of NZ a project that will be one to be proud of.

  5. Ah yes all these necessary extra roads. Twice on the weekend we travelled the Westfield Albany motorway lane; at least that seems its predominant purpose. Was it busy with the Christmas rush? Not at all! I can’t help but think, another misspent piece of motorway.
    On the other side of the coin, is there any bus service that delivers people to Albany mall at any reasonable frequency and cost?

    1. Depends where you come from. The Northern busway starts from the downtown cbd and stops at the Albany Bus Station. There are buses from there to the mall quite frequently, or you could walk it in 10-15 minutes.

    2. Your are right about the over-investment in roads/motorways with a car only focus we don’t need the capacity we need alternative networks so about 1 in 3 use an alternative network of rail , bus and/or cycle or walk. City Rail Link is going to boost rail big time and help the whole public transport system. Sorry I don’t know about bus links to Albany mall but in 2016 whole bus network will have circuits that interconnect at regular frequencies and will improve connections across most of the region to shopping centers, rail stations, busways, ferries, employment centres etc.So things are looking up but these 2 things probably most important changes coming up.

  6. How are they planning to tunnel under the Britomart station building? Or will they cut and cover thorough the floor of Britomart concourse?

    1. The plan I read included cut and cover for Britomart. Tunnel most everywhere else. The first plans I saw indicated re-use of the SH20 borers, but now it looks like not. They are not the right size, and they have different ones lined up for the train tunnels.

  7. What a fantastic idea. This will work way better than any billboard and will really get the message out to the public.

  8. Works for people who are downtown. I hope they are placing similar signage at suburban stations and maybe in town centres so people outside the central city and not on the rail network can see the messages too.

  9. My half-formed promotional plan:

    1. Add QR codes beside the markings.
    2. Put together a modest augmented reality model that lets you “see down” to the tunnel below, with an EMU occasionally flicking past.
    3. Vary up the AR model by replacing the EMUs occasionally with something out of left field to amuse people – a taniwha? a fleet of people on penny farthings? the current All Black squad on jiggers? Give people a prize if they happen to “catch” some of these unexpected “services” with their smartphone (bonus HOP credit, coffee at local cafes, a supermarket voucher…)
    4. ????
    4. Excitement, public interest and understanding. Later, profit.

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