Auckland Transport appears to be backing down on one of their best and boldest decisions – to defer the Reeves Rd flyover and use the money to bring forward the construction of the AMETI busway. This is after what I’m aware has been intense lobbying directly to the government and minister from politicians like Dick Quax and the local MPs. I understand they’ve even been pushing to try and have it declared a State Highway so the NZTA can pay for it.


Here’s AT’s press release:

Chairman, Dr Lester Levy, wishes to clarify the Auckland Transport Board’s position on the Reeves Road flyover, part of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).

An AT media release dated 12 February 2015 implied that a Board decision had been made to accept a new delivery strategy, which included deferring the flyover and opening the full South Eastern Busway (to Botany) earlier. Dr Levy says the board of Auckland Transport has not made any decision to accept the proposed new delivery strategy including the deferral of the flyover. Rather the board simply noted a report presented to its December meeting which suggested a delay in the timing of the flyover, subject to further technical and funding feasibility work.

“That work to assess the feasibility of busway route options through Pakuranga town centre and how funding can be secured for Reeves Road flyover to be delivered earlier continues,” he says.

“The Board has not agreed to the proposed new delivery strategy at this point in time, as it still awaits the technical and funding feasibility. When that work has been completed the Board will be able to give this matter further consideration.

“It is regrettable that this AT media release resulted in stakeholders and the community receiving a mixed message, but I want to be very clear that no firm decisions have been made at this time” Dr Levy says.

As a comparison here is the press release they now say was wrong which clearly talks about using the money to bring forward the busway, the challenges of consenting the project and the extra cost to fix more bottlenecks created by the flyover. I’ve added some emphasis of these points but perhaps I too have read it wrong. What do you think?

Major new public transport improvements will arrive earlier for people in Auckland’s south east.

Auckland Transport is aiming to open the full Southeastern Busway to Botany sooner than the 2028 completion date earlier proposed, and AT is investigating extending bus lanes to Highland Park.

Recent work on the Auckland Manukau Transport Initiative (AMETI) has identified that the busway can operate through Pakuranga town centre without the need to build Reeves Road flyover first.

This allows funding to be used to deliver more public transport improvements sooner by deferring the $170 million flyover until next decade. Targeted traffic improvements will also be made to relieve congestion at the intersections of Ti Rakau Drive/Pakuranga Road and Ti Rakau Drive/Pakuranga Highway.

Auckland Transport AMETI Programme Director Peter King says the change means better transport choices for people in the area sooner and supports the roll out of the new public transport network in 2016.

“The recent decision on the Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington shows the challenges of consenting a flyover that has impacts on an urban area and the potential for long delays. This decision allows us to extend the AMETI transport improvements made in Panmure to Pakuranga and Botany as soon as possible while continuing to build the case for the flyover.

“Large numbers of passengers are expected to be attracted by quicker, frequent and more reliable bus journeys on lanes separate to traffic. About 7.4 million trips a year are expected on the busway.

“There are time savings from opening the busway between Panmure and Pakuranga, however they are much greater when the full busway to Botany is open. For example catching the bus and train between Botany and Britomart will take 38 minutes, 17 minutes quicker.

“The change to timing reflects Auckland Transport’s prioritisation of rapid, high frequency public transport and will not require extra funding.”

Work to develop the flyover showed its congestion benefits would be limited until further significant investment along the South Eastern Highway. It also indicated a likely increase in costs with the need to create a quality urban environment beneath it.

Auckland Transport will update the community in early March on the new delivery plan for AMETI and a potential change to the busway route through Pakuranga town centre. Following further feasibility work there will be consultation on any change to the busway route.

Consultation will be carried out on the latest design for the next construction stage between Panmure and Pakuranga, before a Notice of Requirement is lodged in April.

The Panmure to Pakuranga projects include:

  • Replacing Panmure roundabout with an intersection with traffic lights and more direct pedestrian crossings.
  • Panmure to Pakuranga busway on lanes separate to traffic congestion.
  • Panmure to Pakuranga shared cycle/foot path separate to traffic.
  • Second Panmure Bridge for busway and shared path.
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  1. When Reeves Rd was originally cancelled / indefinitely deferred, that freed up funding for many key projects including accelleration of construction of the Botany Busway, and both the Otahuhu and Manukau interchanges, whose funding was in serious doubt beforehand.

    I presume that they are once again in serious doubt.

    We need a list of how many more worthwhile projects this damn flyover’s resurrection threatens.

    1. To add to my own point: We’ll be losing a whole networks’s worth of improvements to fund this one bloody (and bloody ugly) flyover.

  2. I guess if they said reeves road was bad it would make it more difficult to build the totara park flyover and kill all those mature native trees. The council and AT would not be doing there job if they did not destroy some native trees.

  3. it highlights the need to change NZTA’s FAR for state highways so that they are on an equivalent footing to other types of transport investment, i.e. 50% of funding for highways should be sourced locally …

    Given that 90% of trips on Auckland’s highway network start and end within Auckland that would seem to be a more than generous contribution from the residents of other parts of New Zealand.

    1. I think it is quite the opposite. The justification for TAs to fund transport via rates is that roads are in part about providing access to private property. Where transport investment is primarily about movement it should really be funded by users. In the case of roads this is currently via the NLTF.

        1. Yes that is the first best option. Or actually road pricing rather than tolls. But at the moment the NLTF is the closest thing we have to user pays.

    2. ‘that would seem to be a more than generous contribution from the residents of other parts of New Zealand.’ Is this a correct statement? As NZTA’s funding is from taxes surely these would come from the taxpayers in AK with none actually coming from other parts of New Zealand.

  4. Seems like AT is spending an awful lot of money in east and south east Auckland – Panmure station, that new bypass road, this flyover, mill road, busway, etc. Actually I’m trying to think of a single reasonable scale project that has been or is being done by AT outside east Auckland?
    If the east Auckland public are so keen to have the flyover maybe it should be at the expense of the busway rather than at the expense of a PT project elsewhere. Put it to a vote as to which one gets done?

  5. Well if this is what these old men want as their legacy, and these are politicians the people there want as their representatives, let them wallow in their backwater.

    But they can pay for their own place ruining absurd flyover.

    1. We should let the suburbs\areas that want transit have it, and those that want roads have roads. No one can force people to make long term, rational choices, so we let it be. If people cared about walkability, safety, health, cycling etc then they wouldn’t move to the new developments in Long Bay, Albany, Flat bush etc, so let them stew in traffic.

      The issue for them will be the fact that pretty soon driving into the CBD is going to be a fairly futile task, and the suburbs with good access (ie transit) and closer in (walking, cycling) will continue to be more popular, desirable and livable. I don’t see w way out of this, not with the continued building of 50s style sprawly suburbs. Look on the map at Vancouver, the downtown area, inner suburbs, all very good for transit, walking, cycling etc. Now scroll east to Surrey…and south to Richmond These are the people who drive everywhere, complain about bike lanes, complain about transit costing too much, demanding more, wider roads, more bridges. They are the ones driving into the CBD, aggressive to pedestrians and cyclists, honking, speeding, impatient. No matter what we do, we are going to be in the same boat – so we should just ignore them, build a good city and make sure they can’t ruin it – closed streets, quiet streets, pedestrian priority, no parking.

      1. The massive changes in patronage at Panmure station, thru bus to train transfers, and the incredible sucess of the NEX, dispell the notion that people in these areas don’t want PT.

      2. We should prioritise transport infrastructure in areas that are not resisting intensification of built form via the Unitary Plan process. That means West and perhaps South but the coastal nimbys can go sit on something sharp.

        1. Good idea. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about upgrading pretty roads like Franklin to umm, even prettier roads, until such time as they agree to having those lovely to look at, but horribly inefficient, villas bowled to make way for 20 story apartments.

    1. At the time Lester said that he was still gaga after listening to Jeanette Sadik-Khan talking sense for 45 minutes, so should not be taken as representative of what he actually thinks.

  6. What a complete and utter waste of money that flyover is. All it will do is make Dick Quax’s trip on his high horse a little bit quicker to the southern motorway parking lot in the morning peak.

  7. Interesting how any bold move by a council AGAINST a roading proposal elicits accusations of indecisiveness and dysfunctionality. Wellington City Council faced the same over its erstwhile opposition to the Basin Flyover (which apparently it supports now), and its recent rejection of the Takapu Valley motorway. But the reality is that these are highly divisive and controversial projects for the electorates and the councils are rightly reflecting this. The sore losers are those who believe they are somehow entitled to these roading projects and that these should unquestionably take the whole transport cake. What a perverted mindset this is, and how sickeningly strong a foothold it seems to have gained under an overtly pro-road government that I doubt was elected specifically for such a mandate. (Any who helped elect them but who also oppose these roads, should pause to consider what their vote has delivered).

  8. Reeves Flyover was never cancelled, just deferred. Those councillors are certainly doing a good job representing the demands of their constituents which is exactly what they are paid to do. The people out east are unlikely to think of PT as ever being viable (because they haven’t seen good PT) and so they are angry about projects that will make their drive worse. They pay rates and they want something that benefits them. Democracy is very often about compromise and this is democracy at work and unfortunately it doesn’t always work how we like.

    And yes like JBM says, it will just make trips quicker to the end of the queue on the motorway.

    1. Sure they pay rates, but the cost of this one project alone amounts to about $4,500 per ratepayer in the Howick Local Board, this would consume their share of the local government transport capex budget for the next ten years or so. They are welcome to introduce a targeted rate.

      1. Unfortunately the local politicians seem dead set against the decision and there is no one anywhere representing the alternate view in the Howick area. We need a campaign that voices the opinions of the other side in Howick so Auckland Transport aren’t blindsided by the supposedly unanimous opposition from the local board, councilors and MPs

        1. We just need someone, ANYONE, to run against Dick Quax.
          He was elected unopposed to Council. His outdated opinions are strangling the East and Auckland as a whole.
          I live in hope that someone will replace him at the next election.

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