A newsletter from the NZTA yesterday highlighted some new graphics of what the East-West Link will look like. The consent hearings for the project are currently in full swing.

The first, and most shocking drawing, is of the East-West Link as it crosses over Anns Creek, Gt South Rd then along Sylvia Park Rd towards SH1. Frankly I’m almost at a lost for words at how ghastly this monstrosity is. Has Robert Moses been re-animated by the NZTA?

Next is an image (looking south) of a new walking and cycling bridge being built next to SH1 over Otahuhu Creek. This is a good improvement as those two sides are over 4.5km apart by road but It seems strange that the bridge is so wide. I wonder if there’s a longer term plan to create a new local road connection using it?

And then there’s this video to show walking and cycling connections. I guess it’s at least fairly accurate as it includes narrow footpaths that are narrowed further by planting that overgrows the path – a common issue in many places. Of all the walking and cycling stuff they could show related to the project, this seems like possibly the worst they could have.

Finally they note that there are new technical drawings for those that may be interested.

All of this comes on the heels of a facebook post by the TOES group where they say that the NZTA have admitted some of their visualisations were inaccurate and that large sections of the waterfront will be cut off.

Since TOES opening Statement last week and it’s release of new visuals of the East West Link. NZTA witnesses have confirmed TOES visuals are a fair representation and admitted that 2 of the visual simulations used to apply for consent, engage and consult the public were inaccurate. Confirming large sections of the waterfront will be cut off, disappear from popular view points and leaving many members of the community feeling deceived. You have to wonder if Auckland CouncilMaungakiekie-Tamaki Local BoardOnehungaFriends of the Manukau Harbour & TOES many requests for more understandable and accurate visualizations been delivered. How many more people would have made a submission to opposed the current NZTA design.

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65 comments

  1. The bridge over Otahuhu creek is for temporary motorway lanes while the replace the main culvert so will be left over after construction.
    The first image really brings it home but don’t worry its still not a motorway! The strip of land between it and the eastern line looked quite substantial in one of the maps I saw but in that image you wonder why you’d bother…

  2. I think these will be the most flattering images that they could come up with, (without misleading the consultation process of course!) tweaked in clever ways to make the East West Motorway look less bulky than it is. Notice the nice slender almost non-existent bridge columns, the;light grey colours to reduce the overwhelming asphalt.. etc etc The reality will be much physically and visually much worse, and of course the traffic much heavier.

  3. The visualisations have been poor and not readily available from the start. It’s crazy for a project of this scale and with it’s multi-faceted impact to not provide effective resources to impacted communities.

    You would think they are focused on just getting a wall built, rather than building something that works for everyone and not just NZTA.

  4. Naturally we who follow this blog are appalled at this ongoing pointlessness.

    Unfortunately we are up against a cult-like belief strongly embedded in society that more roads are good.

    The same people who whinge about the odd million for a cycleway have a peculiar blindness to multi-billion-dollar roads. There is a long-standing quasi-religious belief in tarmac in this country which is so deep-seated it may take decades to shift.

    Mind you it’s now a quarter of a millennium since the Enlightenment and we still have people who believe in the virgin birth.

    Thanks to GA and the Greens for at least getting the facts out into the public arena.

    1. We’ve got new cycle lanes on Puhinui Road which hardly anybody uses.
      Motorists who use it now have a road that’s a nightmare to navigate.

      1. “…hardly anyone uses” – got some actual data to back that up? Driving past and half-noticing the occasional rider doesn’t count…

        1. You’re right. I saw the “occasional rider” the other day – one in fact. The majority of users are motorists.

      2. “Motorists who use it now have a road that’s a nightmare to navigate.” If you can’t navigate this road hand your license in, you’re going to kill someone.

        1. Why do you think they straighten roads? It aids the flow of traffic and reduces accidents.
          But hey, let’s make it more difficult for the majority of road users just so an occasional cyclist can use it.

          1. Sorry, I wasn’t aware that the rail overbridge, which is the cause of the only curves on the road, was part of the cycle lanes. perhaps you mean the slight deviation in the lanes that are required to take all moving vehicles around the tiny minority storing their appliances on the public road.

          2. More people should cycle. It’s morally superior to use one’s own resources rather than be lazy and utilise an internal combustion engine.

  5. Lets put some perspective on this. We are not actually talking about an area of natural beauty here. The route follows the foreshore of the Mangere Inlet – be honest – how many readers of this have ever been there?? and goes mostly through industrial land.
    What are you trying to save here – Wakaraka Park? Envirowaste? Noel Leeming clearance centre??
    I’m not arguing if there is a financial case to this project or not, just the Nimbyism of this project vs projects that are for public transport, walking or cycling.
    If a motorway is going to be built anywhere, this seems to have a lower impact than many. Rail to the North Shore would have a visual impact on more people than this and yet I am sure most of you want to see that project (myself included).
    Also, for a group of people that are interested in reducing carbon emissions, projects that shorten HGV km’s in our city should be embraced.
    Sure, a few people will be negatively affected – but doesn’t this blog believe that the few can suffer in silence for the greater good of the many?
    Just an idea guys – no need to take the above opinion personally x

    1. Lower impact?

      Onehunga is essentially the only real engagement point the urban environment has with PT infrastructural and an essentially township that works without much effort with the Manukau harbour.

      This city actually has two harbours. We should use both. Too not consider this and just continue to treat the area as a tip is painful.

      Second, there is a strong likelihood that those industrial zones will move further south over time. So the potentially exists for these areas to become commercial, mixed commercial/residential or residential. In fact they are probably good locations for this if it’s combined with harbour regeneration.

    2. I have been along the Mangere foreshore, and while there are certainly more beautiful areas in Auckland, it is one we should protect. The cyclepath along there is great, and brings a lot of peace and tranquility to an industrial area. Knocking it out and building a ‘Limited access arterial’ / motorway isn’t something that should be done, especially considering that there are better options, with better BCRs, that weren’t chosen – see this post for details:
      https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/our-campaigns/an-alternate-east-west-option/

          1. Ouch! Annes Creek is an incredibly important ecological area, with fascinating plants relating to former lava flows. Until I saw this photo I didn’t realise it was impacted by this motorway.

    3. LR the argument about shortening HGV kms does not stack up for this project. This EW Link (freeway) is clearly about car traffic. Why? Because of its scale. There is not a road in New Zealand that has a high enough truck volume to justify more than one lane in each direction to cater for the trucks. Motorways are built to handle car traffic, period. NZTA are building a 4 to 6 lane freeway in this case to accommodate cars.

      If they really were doing this for freight, then they should just build a one lane each way facility with access limited to 8 tonne trucks and up. Then traffic growth would not choke it up, and the cost would be more than halved. It would be great for freight, if that was the real objective.

      I think in an era when urban freeway construction is getting rightly questioned, (and is now rare in the OECD outside New Zealand and Australia) freight “need” has become the new way for road agencies to justify their pet freeway project.

      1. Interesting comment, as this is the same reason they are building B2B in Tauranga. Complete overkill in terms of scale and impact (plus being parallel to existing rail) and there is no remedy for fixing the obvious downstream bottleneck.

    4. The area has some natural beauty that is ruined by the industrial area. But the industrial area doesn’t have to stay that way.
      Wynyard quarter wasn’t that nice not so long ago! Imagine if they’d said ‘hey Wynyard is a dump – good place for a Nuclear reactor’ or something equally stupid.

    5. There’s more appeal and patronage to this area than you think, and anyway the future could be very different – the Fabric of Onehunga development is a harbinger of conversion to higher density residential to meet the massive pent-up demand for isthmus locations. So let’s not bugger up yet another piece of the Mangere harbour foreshore by slapping a motorway along it.

      An alternative vision of the Mangere inlet at https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2015/10/16/guest-post-how-about-a-mangere-inlet-boardwalk/

    6. I take issue with this statement – “Also, for a group of people that are interested in reducing carbon emissions, projects that shorten HGV km’s in our city should be embraced.” Yes one vehicle using this new more efficient road will lower it’s pollutants but the induced demand will more than compensate;
      http://bca.transportationeconomics.org/benefits/induced-travel
      http://cityobservatory.org/urban-myth-busting_idling_carbon/

      URBAN MYTH

  6. “What are you trying to save here ”

    1.8 billion dollars. And an outstanding natural environment. The fact that it has already been destroyed doesn’t negate the additional damage this project would do.

    “Also, for a group of people that are interested in reducing carbon emissions, projects that shorten HGV km’s in our city should be embraced.”

    Like the group of people trying to make sure they don’t get cancer from loosely packed cigarettes by packing more tobacco in?

    1. It isn’t just the damage that has already been done. This project would prevent that damage ever being repaired. If it were re-vegetated this area could be greatly rehabilitated over 5 to 10 years, as is happening to the west of Onehunga. That will never happen with EW Link in place.

      1. +1, especially as we fix up storw water and waste water into this area there is potential for enormous regeneration.

    1. Part of the problem is their design is not static. So pictures they have released earlier are probably not valid.

      For example the Onehunga harbour visuals – I can not tell how they will connect into the port. Since the road as visualised seems to be at an elevation to the port.

  7. Yet more tales of woe similar to what we had about the Waterview Tunnel and how it was doomed to failure before it opened.
    How’s that working out?
    Works pretty well from the last news report I read.

    1. What are you on about? The ‘tales of woe’ regarding the Waterview Connection were around added congestion to other parts of the network, we’ll find out next week if they are true or not.

      The concern with this is that it is a giant waste of money.

      1. I don’t think we’ll see so much more traffic next week to convince Vance. Many of the mechanisms for induced traffic involve longer-term decision-making and land-use effects. I think the traffic induced by the Waterview Connection will build most strongly over the next 3 to 5 years, and keep building more slowly for another 8 or 12. Different places are being affected in different ways of course. Roads that were not part of a network that can now be bypassed – eg dead end systems – will already be seeing more traffic due to the extra trips people are taking because travel times are faster. And there will be other bottlenecks, etc, but not enough to impress Vance. When the congestion reaches the level it was, the memory of the cause will have passed…

  8. Just threw my eyes over the drawings. Coming from someone who works in infrastructure design, these are really detailed for consenting purposes. There’s hundred of thousands of dollars engineering time in these drawings. They’re fully expecting that this is going ahead.

      1. Much of the work may have been done before they realised the process would get complicated with the EPA hearings.

        The Onehunga community meeting in Jan/Feb was certainly larger than they planned.

  9. “The first, and most shocking drawing, is of the East-West Link as it crosses over Anns Creek, Gt South Rd then along Sylvia Park Rd towards SH1. Frankly I’m almost at a lost for words at how ghastly this monstrosity is. Has Robert Moses been re-animated by the NZTA?”

    A classic case of faux outrage – but it gets better.

    The next bullet in the battle against this project is the removal of access to the foreshore area. For the benefit of those who have never been to the area the foreshore is akin to a swamp on a very tidal harbour. It’s almost unusable for human purposes.

    Perhaps this project doesn’t stack up from a cost/benefit perspective. If that’s the case then fair enough but please lets stop the faux outrage and the lies.

    1. I somewhat agree, unfortunately it is not possible to oppose a project purely on cost/benefit, which is a major and probably deliberate flaw.

    2. Surely a long line of apartments along the waterfront with views would be possible and desirable, even if no one is going to go for a swim. That land is wasted as industrial (or motorway)

      1. Exactly. You could build a wall of 6 storey apartments along the waterfront AND still put the EW ‘Link’ behind it. The apartments would sell because people from foreign cities would think ‘sweet!’, unlike NZers who all want their 1/6 acre paradise. And north facing.
        But it won’t happen because that would mean NZTA would have to buy up a lot of commercial land, and they generally only ‘take’ residential swathes.

    3. “For the benefit of those who have never been to the area the foreshore is akin to a swamp on a very tidal harbour. It’s almost unusable for human purposes.”

      Exactly, it is an ecologically important area that shouldn’t be used by humans except, possibly, on the least invasive structure possible or in a boat.

      “A classic case of faux outrage”

      How is it faux outrage? Surely it is just outrage? I am outraged by this disgusting structure that will ruin any chance we ever had to fix the local urban environment.

  10. Its a pity they have to destroy the cycle way its kind of nice along there. I see they are using the old port land to store containers. In my view the railway line should have being retained right down to the port. It would be easy to run rail along the foreshore instead of a motorway. Perhaps that should be part of the project. It could go to the Airport LOL.
    I have often wondered why the Mangere Bridge the one that we had all the strikes about in the 1970 had to be so high it makes the on and off ramps at Onehunga difficult. I suppose they could have had overbridges rather than underbridges too late now anyway. It just seems stupid to have to box the compass to get off the motorway into Onehunga when you coming from the south. And I think some of the complexity of the present project stems from this.

  11. If you add the proposed Pukekohe not motorway, to the Mill Road not motorway, to the East-West not motorway, you get a $7billion meandering not motorway roughly following SH1.

    I guess this is what happens after the motorway network is completed? Just start drawing lines while blindfolded then come up with reasons to build them.

  12. I hope that some of you have been reading the daily transcripts of the East-West Link Board of Enquiry? Fairly dry stuff, but vaguely amusing at times. Very rare times.
    http://www.epa.govt.nz/Resource-management/east-west-link/hearing/proceedings/Pages/default.aspx

    However, I’d like to bring to your collective attention, the opening day’s statements from Mr Mulligan, the Lawyer for the NZTA, who said:

    “Really stepping back from this project, what is notable about it is that, surprisingly, again, everyone loves this project. No one doesn’t want this project, or there’s almost overwhelming support for an East West Link. There has been for a long time. The difficulty is we just haven’t worked out exactly what it’s going to look like or where it’s going to be. Of those who have submitted, the overwhelming majority want a link between State Highway 20 and State Highway 1. All of the submissions, or most of the submissions, say,
    “We support the project. We just don’t like the impact on us”.
    That’s because there is a recognition that this is Auckland’s industrial heart, and that the moment it’s clogged. Even the Campaign for Better Transport is questioning the options that are taken, not necessarily the idea in general.” (page 13, Day 1). and

    “I’ll say another somewhat surprising statement: this particular project is about not building roads. The idea is that we try to make what we’ve got – make this industrial area – more efficient. Let’s get the most out of it. It’s there. Let’s yield the maximum from it. If we can do that, then it stops businesses being pushed to the outskirt of Auckland, having to get pushed further and further away and have their places taken by retail activities, residential activities. If you can do that, you can avoid Auckland spreading.” (page13-14, Day 1).

      1. “is this statement true in any respects” Best I could find was: “we just haven’t worked out exactly…”

        What is stunning is the reference to Auckland spreading, as if this sprawl-inducing monster is going to restrict sprawl.

    1. The NZTA have indicated that the EWL project will reduce congestion in Onehunga, which is just a sweetener to get the Onehunga public to like the project. I say it is a sweetener because having lived in Onehunga for 20 years and driven around many parts of Auckland, I’d say Onehunga is not particularly worse off than other areas of Auckland that are not getting an EWL. The major problem areas I’ve seen are during peak times, and the rest of the time traffic flows reasonably well around Onehunga. I do think we have a problem with Mangere Bridge and a lack of alternative light rail transport across the harbour, but this is not part of the EWL project.
      The EWL project is not really about reducing congestion in Onehunga, which is just a sweetener that is being used to help justify the project. The real gain is reducing travel times for trucking companies. And don’t think reduced travel time will reduce emissions, as this is not likely. According to Grant Turner for the trucking companies, the EWL will significantly reduce travel time between Onehunga and East Tamaki, which in my calculations will likely enable a single trucking company running four trucks to run four extra trips a day, so no reduction in overall emissions, a net increase in traffic, and a greater profit for the trucking company.

      1. That pretty much sums it up, Stephen. And it’s important to keep in mind too that the travel times are calculated by an outdated model which allows for “no newly created trips” in the comparison between the without project and the with project scenarios. Roads like the EWL do create more trips. The European Commission, as one example, acknowledges that this induced traffic needs to be included in the modelling. NZTA is just dragging its feet on accepting it. So the travel times are incorrect in the medium and long term.

        1. As another local resident, I’m most dismayed by the overwhelming junction of new connecting off/on-ramps at the port area.

          We were promised an exciting plan from Panuku to reconnect and develop the port area, in a similar vein to Wynyard Quarter. This would be completely transformational for the area, and would be immensely beneficial to the community.

          The East/West Link destroys that possibility. It will seriously limit the amenity and development potential of the village and port areas from here on.
          Just so some trucks can get through a few minutes quicker. Sad!

        2. The thing is, I don’t think trucks (or any vehicles) will get anywhere quicker, I think it’ll be clogged much of the time – and cause the southern and southwestern motorways to be even more clogged also.

          I think truck lanes on Neilson St with priority signals (as Matt L suggested way back) would work much better (could add (metered) truck-only access ramps to Mangere bridge at a later stage, if really needed).

      2. PT would do a do a better job of reducing congestion.

        I also think they are not taking into account the right factors for their modelling. Given the size of the bridge is not changing. I can’t see how more vehicle arriving with these faster links will transit though Onehunga faster. I think the reverse is more likely.

  13. the proposed cycleway is too narrow for bidirectional traffic, has limited protection and runs along side horrible motorways. Best guess few will use it unless they have no choice.

    1. When I watched the video I thought “that’s a footpath!”
      You can’t ride your bike on a footpath but you can when it’s designated a walk/cycleway presumably?
      Watching the video I noticed it faded out before we got to the bit where the mother had to pull her child out of the way of the oncoming cyclist.

  14. I guess that’s the end of grade-separation for the southern and eastern line junction, as well as completing the triangle at that junction.

  15. I hope the Waikaraka Cemetery survives OK – I have several relatives there. Does anyone have any info on this please ?

  16. First of all, I’m against this whole thing, BUT: Why would the preferred option be to raise what looks to be 8 or 9 lanes of motorway up and over Gt South Road when GSR is already the higher road going over the rail line? Those pillars have to be way tall with deep piling! Surely it would make sense to keep the big motorway part on the ground and have GSR going over it?

    This just looks really dumb!

    As another option, EVEN THOUGH I HATE THIS WHOLE IDEA but just buy those shitty warehouses that are in the middle of it and make a decent overpass like any other motorway with off/on ramps. There’s space and obviously ridiculous amount of lanes here to have cloverleaf-style loops and shit here FFS!!! DUMB!

    1. Good point, it does seem more logical and a lot cheaper to take Gt South road over and the EWL under, which would be cheaper and less visually bad, but I agree with you the damage is still going to be huge at this point and I don’t like it.

    2. As I just replied to someone else up thread… when it comes to buying swathes of land for their new roading projects they tend to prefer to take residential land, not industrial. I’m guessing it’s because commercial property owners can put up a bigger fight than home owners.
      If the work is so essential why don’t they just compulsorily acquire the land, as they did in Waterview, and leave the foreshore where it is? Oh right, because that would make it really expensive and the cost/benefit analysis tips it out the window.

    3. After my initial outrage at the seeing the first image, and having now taken a further, more sober, inspection of it, I have noticed a few more things:

      1. This interchange not only incorporates the EWL and GSR, but also Sylvia Park Road. This is not to say that the EWL needs to be lifted up on stilts – there is surely a better way to design it and still integrate Sylvia Park Road without doing this. I understand that off the bottom left of this image there are several industrial rail lines that this motorway would need to go over, but this part in particular doesn’t need to.

      2. Where is the aerial view of what’s happening at the top right of the picture – the monstrosity where this EWL joins onto SH1? That has got to be an even bigger mess than what we are seeing here! And how does NZTA plan to address all the extra traffic that would be joining SH1 at what is already a pinchpoint (currently only 2 lanes each way over Clemow Rd and the Eastern rail line) and will it remain only 3 lanes at Tip Top Corner and beyond?

      3. Nick: If you look at how this land is currently designated, the visual shown above has already taken commercial land and demolished at least 3 buildings to create this interchange. Note they even need to change the giant power pylon to a smaller footprint to make it work. https://www.google.co.nz/maps/@-36.9245562,174.8334576,185m/data=!3m1!1e3

      4. The cycle lane tacked onto that side of that ramp and bridge would surely cost more than running a cycle lane – on cycle-friendly flat land – next to the railway line behind the old warehouses, under GSR through the existing rail underpass and join up to the EWL (which should be at ground level) via a boardwalk across the mangroves.

      5. Is that Ann’s Creek, as well as a large area of natural greenfields, that has, for no apparent reason, been PAVED OVER? Right in the middle of the image. https://www.google.co.nz/maps/@-36.9261039,174.8320129,186m/data=!3m1!1e3

      Disgraceful.

  17. Great to see all the interest in getting a better outcome for the communities from this project. It’s a shame that only half a dozen members of the public are represented at the resource consent hearing. I’m afraid that those few members of the public won’t be able to influence the project like you’ve suggested above so at this stage we need to accept what NZTA have proposed.

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