Post from Ryan Mearns of Generation Zero

In June NZTA and Auckland Transport finally came out with a new proposed route for the East-West Connections, which is a new road route long pushed by business groups that would link SH1 and SH20 either north or south of the Manukau Harbour. An earlier proposed route that cut through the heart of Mangere was dropped in January 2014 after a huge public outcry, and an excellent local campaign. This new route effectively involved joining SH1 at Syliva Park with SH20 at Onehunga, with a direct connection that looks a lot like a motorway.

East-West Preferred Option

This area does suffer from traffic congestion, and does have a large amount of truck traffic, much of it leading to the major Kiwirail terminal and inland port along Neilson Street. So this is one area where we would support some investment to reduce congestion hotspots. However NZTA admitted that it would cost over $1 billion dollars. This is a huge amount of money, and for example is roughly equivalent to the government contribution of the CRL. There is already severe strain on the transport budget from the government spend-up on RONS and the Auckland accelerated motorway projects, so this is bad news for those of us that want the government to progress projects such as the Northern Busway extensions and North-Western busway.

The primary concerns we have for the project are that;

  1. The design of the proposed new motorway makes it even more difficult to build rail to the airport. To ensure either light or heavy rail can one day go to the airport, any designs for the motorway should preserve the rail corridor.
  2. The only public transport upgrades proposed are discontinuous shared bus and truck lanes which are poor quality and potentially unsafe. The project should focus on improving public transport in the area to reduce congestion with a network of high frequency bus services with continuous bus lanes.
  3. Current bike infrastructure in the area is disconnected and of low quality. The solution is to provide high quality bike connections linking Onehunga, Penrose, Mangere, Mangere Bridge and Otahuhu.
  4. The new motorway proposes to block off the limited public access there is to the Manukau east of Onehunga, with the cycleway on the land side of the motorway. The project should not have to reclaim the Manukau Harbour and should ensure any works near the harbour improve public access, rather than separate the community from the harbour.
  5. Congestion is an issue in the area, but a billion dollar motorway is not the way to go. The Government should focus any road spending on cheap upgrades to fix localised congestion spots.

NZTA are taking feedback on the East West Connections until the end of Friday. They do have an online form, however it bizarrely focusses on the bus-truck lanes, which are effectively an entirely different project. To help people get the key points across Generation Zero have created a quick submit form, which will send your feedback straight to NZTA.

Click here to go to the form to submit your feedback to NZTA.

More information on the project is available on the NZTA and Auckland Transport websites.

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  1. Little mistake on the form – I assume it’s supposed to be “Last Name”, not “Second Name”. I mean, for me they’re one and the same, but lots of people have middle names, and their surname could be the third or fourth name, or more.

  2. What difference will it make? The NZTA wants to build this, and will do so, regardless of the merits.

    Only public embarrassment will stop them.

  3. If the KiwiRail inland port is the problem would it be cheaper to relocate it?
    Why do we use trucks to move the containers from the port to the KiwiRail inland port?

    1. I don’t know that many trucks will be going between Port of Auckland and KiwiRail’s Metroport. Already several rail shunts per day connect PoA with Westfield/Southdown. Truck trips to Metroport and Southdown Freight terminal are likely to come from far and wide. It may be that additional rail-freight collection points could be provided elsewhere on the network. Would be way cheaper than building a motorway. But we’re up against the usual problem that building motorways is what NZTA do and they want nothing to do with rail. This is of course a reflection of what the government wants: Moar Motorways.

    2. We have a never-ending stream of container trucks here, all going to the freight companies at the airport which were displaced by Sylvia Park opening. Suburban Roads + long, heavy trucks = hazards and damage. Unfortunately there seem to be no moves to change that, instead encourage it…..

  4. This proposed link is the worst case of industrial bullying and benefit fraud ever seen. Old men dream (of motorways) and young people will pay for them.

  5. Can anyone answer y this highway runs under highway 20 and heads north to another big on off ramp mess when they could just have the ramps right by the bridge and I also think this should be a continuous highway linking to pakuranga hwy 10.
    Anyone look at Google maps and see how it will make even more mess.

    1. Because they then want to spend $2 billion to fix the mess caused by the $1 billion. Job security requires ever more problems.

    1. So 4. “The new motorway proposes to block *off* the limited public access there is to the Manukau east of Onehunga, with the cycleway on the land side of *the* motorway. The project should not have to reclaim the Manukau Harbour. The project should ensure any works near the harbour *improve* public access…”?

  6. One thing I respect this blog’s bloggers for are their efforts to be factually accurate and for searching out evidence in order to form / support their views. Gen Zero is doing Auckland a great service in raising awareness and educating people, and I’ve used the submission forms for a couple of their recent campaigns. But I’m disappointed their letting their standards for factual accuracy slip a couple of times in their publicity this week, in above post and in their email mail-outs. E.g. I stand to be corrected but I’m calling them up on (a) saying this is a motorway at least 3 times above when the docs available have said it won’t be a motorway (fine to say “motorway-like” but motorway is a factual error based on info that has been released, though of course that could change); (b) email out last week where Gen Zero implied the City Rail Link was not in the draft council basic plan until Gen Zero’s campaign, when in fact the City Rail Link was one project always in all versions of the plan including the basic plan. Those that support Gen Zero’s views won’t mind these errors, but for people who are undecided that are the ones Gen Zero really need to rally, errors such as this that might make them feel Gen Zero is misleading them, and make Gen Zero’s campaigns less credible. Gen Zero – you guys are doing a great job, growing your profile and having a positive influence on Auckland. So it would be shame if you guys let you standards slip! (or please correct my errors if I have got this wrong).

    1. I personally haven’t seen anywhere Gen Zero have taken credit for the CRL other than as part of a campaign to support it. As for this road, it is a motorway to all intents and purposes even though NZTA are referring to it as a ‘limited access state highway’. As for Gen Zero, they’re a bunch of guys and girls working on a voluntary basis on a lot of campaigns. I’m sure they’ll take note of your concerns but if they do slip from time to time, remember they (and this blog) are up against a large group of paid, professional staff who can spend 8 hours a day doing this.

    2. On the first point I would suggest that to all intents and purposes that this is a motorway. While like the Waikato Expressway it will not meet legal definition of motorway as it appears could have at grade intersections, most people still will see it as a motorway. Not calling it that is buying into NZTA’s spin.
      On the second point you are correct, there indeed was an oversight in that graphic, that unfortunately was not picked up until well after was publicised. There was never any intention to claim credit for the CRL, CRL not a feature of our LTP campaign as indeed was funded in the Basic. Hope you can appreciate that work is done on voluntary basis in our spare time, and often at very fast pace, so occasionally things slip through our checking.

      1. Thanks Luke appreciate the efforts of your group. Trouble is you’ve done it so well high expectations are set now!

  7. Hope people beyond this blog are aware of it and think it over. Putting all the load on a single system is not good future-proofing

  8. At the eastern end of this proposal why can’t it go inland a bit through the asbestos filled wastelands, container yards, and new vehicle parking facilities, rather than along the pleasant foreshore? It would save them having to reclaim land from the inlet also. A cycleway should be on the sea side,not the inland side and continue right around the entire inlet to Westfield, Otahuhu, Favona, and Mangere. If they can do it around the Orakei basin they can do it here, and for much less cost. It would be a geniunely useful cycleway connector from South Akl to the isthmus.

    It looks like there would be traffic lights where it meets Captain Springs Rd and Angle St.

    The greatest bottleneck is at the intersection of Onehunga Mall and Neilson St with the overbridge. It flows relatively well elsewhere. It just needs double laning and no parking along all of Neilson St

  9. My submission:

    I strongly oppose this proposal, which is yet another extravagant waste of public money that will encourage more vehicles, exacerbating Auckland’s daily traffic chaos and undermine urgently needed rail & other public transport priorities.

    The bulk of frieght should travel by rail, not road – the main trunk railway traverses this area, and a rail link to the airport & beyond should be built with haste.

    There is already an ‘East-West Connection’ in the area that needs only relatively minor upgrades – it’s called Neilson St/Church St.

    Roger Fowler,
    Mangere East

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