Every now and then something so ridiculous comes along it’s hard to ignore. That came over the weekend courtesy of the ACT party’s candidate for the Northcote by-election, Stephen Berry. It start initially as a comment about what he’d rather see for transport in Auckland
I’d rather see the motorway network, including a harbour crossing at Northcote to Pt Chev and Devonport to Orakei.
There are no other solutions to the chaos on Onewa and Lake Rds
— Stephen Berry – Act Northcote Candidate (@sjberrynz) May 11, 2018
After being pressed on it, he later posted this map to highlight his plans and saying more details would be released during the campaign.
Adapted from MOW proposal 1972, canned by Muldoon. pic.twitter.com/pmdzUzBsqS
— Stephen Berry – Act Northcote Candidate (@sjberrynz) May 12, 2018
I gotta say, it’s one thing to have a transport plan stuck in the past, it’s another thing entirely to admit your plan still hasn’t evolved since the 1970’s. Perhaps they’re trying to solve the housing and transport crises by paving so much of the city that not many people could, or would want to live here.
So, how much would this mega motorway spree cost. Let’s do a couple of quick back of the envelope calculations.
- East-West Link – This one is the easiest of the lot as we know from the work over recent years that it was going to cost around $1.8 billion, maybe more, and that wasn’t even to a motorway standard. You may also recall that even construction Industry lobby group Infrastructure NZ ended up opposing it, saying it was more expensive per kilometre than motorway project in Russia so riddled with corruption it was claimed it would have been to pave in Cavier
- Eastern Motorway and Harbour Crossing – Infrastructure NZ have pushed in vein to get the Eastern Motorway idea back on the agenda by combining it with another Harbour crossing. To avoid the local opposition in the eastern suburbs, the plan tunnels all the way from Glen Innes to the North Shore. Back in 2016 during the original ATAP process, the project team took that idea on board and decided to investigate it. It was found it would cost around $11 billion and had a Benefit Cost Ratio of 0.2-0.4.
- Dominion Rd Motorway – In a separate tweet he confirmed that this route would be a tunnel under Dominion Rd. It’s approximately 6km from the Central Motorway Junction to Dominion Rd. that’s just over twice as long as the Waterview tunnels. Waterview cost about $1.4 billion so $3 billion seems appropriate here.
- Pt Chevalier to Puhoi motorway – This thing really is huge at around 42km and include about a 3km bridge or tunnel across the harbour. It would then face some tricky terrain getting through the western North Shore. But then much of it travels over open countryside. As such, let’s assume it costs about the same as the Eastern Motorway idea.
- Panmure to Manukau via Botany – This would add about another 13km to the route and easily end up a billion or more.
- Wiri to Pukekohe – The bottom of the map isn’t shown but it’s heading directly towards SH22 and the intersection with Glenbrook Rd, presumably carrying on to Pukekohe. From Wiri it’s about 16km to SH22 and another eight to Pukekohe. Let’s say about $1.5 billion
All up that’s around $29 billion and makes the Roads of National Significance look like amateur hour. According to Stephen road pricing would magically cover the construction costs. Perhaps he could suggest testing this with a toll gantry at the bottom of Onewa Rd?
Finally, I’m a little surprised there’s not more links. Where’s the Avondale to Henderson motorway once proposed, what about a motorway to Kumeu, or perhaps even a bridge to Waiheke Island – although perhaps I shouldn’t give them ideas.
I guess what this ultimately shows is how far we’ve come. At one point in Auckland’s history, this plan was real and could have happened. But Auckland has changed and the rate of that change is accelerating. That’s something to be truly excited about.