Just over a month ago we highlighted the consultation for the transport corridors supporting the major greenfield development areas in Warkworth and around Dairy Flat. It built on work done by Auckland Transport a few years ago and was the first public part of a process that will see major transport corridors designated well in advance of any development.
Now the project alliance undertaking the work is consulting on their plans for the growth planned for South Auckland where they say projected level of growth has increased by 30%, even compared to 2016. That means the transport system will need more capacity.
For the rail network, this means potentially four tracks will be needed all the way to Pukekohe, for the motorway it means the Southern Motorway the current widening will need to extend at least to Drury. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the consultation is the suggestion of building another rapid transit line in the south, largely parallel to the existing Southern Line.
This proposal has me conflicted. I want to see a lot more public transport infrastructure In Auckland but delivering a rapid transit level quality network of almost full grade separation is difficult and expensive. The project team told me that this is due to their modelling showing even 9-car trains running frequent services would be mostly full by the time they reached Papakura. This seems implausible and would require significant property purchase. It seems to me that even just a frequent bus route/s with appropriate priority might be a better option than a full busway to address the problem. At the moment, with the exception of the 33 which runs down Gt South Rd, none of the local buses are even at a frequent status.
In addition to a whole new RTN route, they have suggested there will be bus lanes on the motorway too – which would require an additional lane on the motorway they’re just in the process of widening. It’s not clear who would be using these motorway services if there’s already a parallel rail network and even more so if there was also another parallel rapid transit route.
As part of ATAP, it was agreed that Mill Rd would go ahead but in a different fashion to previous plans. Just what that looks like is currently being evaluated. The project team are also starting to look at the options for how it connects at the southern end as well as some new connection options to the North.
As you can see, three of those options end at the same spot on the motorway and they would feed into….
That expressway as well as the existing road connections would link to potentially one or more ring roads.
There are four level crossings in Takanini and they’re some of the most dangerous. The plan is to grade separate two of the level crossings and close the other two. The big project in the area is to create a new crosstown connection with (likely a bridge) that connects Rangi Rd to Mahia Rd. To do that it would need to span the motorway, the creek and the rail line, which means it’s likely to be nearly 500m long and that won’t come cheap.
There are definitely some big roads being planned out south but also some significant PT improvements too.
Consultation is open till next Wednesday, October 10.