Auckland Transport announced yesterday (interestingly only on social media) that there have been no appeals against their consent to start works for the City Rail Link in Albert St. That has cleared the way for work to start in November on moving stormwater pipes – the first physical works needed to deliver the project. As the Herald reported yesterday the actual process of digging the tunnels will start in May next year and will also involve closing the Chief Post Office building down for a few years while the foundations are moved to accommodate the future rail lines.
The works will necessitate a new entrance being created at the rear of the CPO. Here is a concept image of what it will look like
The works will also see a number of streets affected by the construction works – especially Albert St. AT say this will affect more than 5,000 bus trips per day and as such a number of bus routes will have to be changed. Importantly they say they’re prioritising PT in the city during this time saying it is “to provide an effective and efficient way to move the most people in, out and around the city.” It’s good to see AT making this clear.
To prioritise these routes it means AT will be adding in a number of new bus lanes in the city centre as well as temporarily removing on-street car parking from some locations. An overview of the on street changes expected are shown in the image below.
There are more detailed maps about just where the changes will occur here.
In total around 77 carparks are affected and given the amount of off street parking generally available I doubt this should have too much impact. Of course people will likely quickly adapt to it being gone so in a few years perhaps those parking changes could become permanent. There are also changes to six loading zones.
These works will undoubtedly be disruptive for the city centre however the end result will be transformative for all of Auckland. It enables a huge increase in frequency and capacity of the entire rail network making it more viable to a wider range of people. It also frees up space on city streets so that more buses from areas not served by rail – and in future light rail – can be run, again benefiting not just those going to the city centre. It is also the catalyst for massive growth and it’s no surprise that so many major projects have been announced along the CRL route.
And provides a large redevelopment opportunity at Eden Terrace
In addition to all of this it also opens the way for a whole host of projects to further improve the city centre. Projects such as improved footpaths on Albert St, the Victoria St linear park, the new public space outside the CPO.
Of course the biggest question that remains is when the government will come to the party and fund their share of the project.