The long-awaited Eastern Busway is finally a few steps closer with Auckland Transport announcing that some works will be starting soon with the main construction due to start early next year.
Work is starting shortly to remove 61 properties as part of the AMETI Eastern Busway route. The properties are all ownaed by Auckland Council and are along the Panmure to Pakuranga stage of AMETI.
The removal of properties on the northern side of Lagoon Drive and Pakuranga Road will finish by early next year to enable the main construction phase to start in March/April 2019.
Mayor Phil Goff says, “AMETI will bring high-frequency public transport to East Auckland along with significantly improved facilities for motorists and safer, faster connections for bike riders and walkers.
“Our teams are working quickly to start construction early next year and bring high frequency public transport to the fast-growing region of East Auckland. AMETI will unlock housing development opportunities and boosting the local economy.”
The construction phase will take approximately two years. Parts of Lagoon Drive and Pakuranga Road will be widened to create a dedicated, congestion-free busway, similar to the Northern Busway. Panmure Roundabout will be turned into a safer signalised intersection, there will be new cycle and walking paths, improved public spaces and reserves, a second bridge across Tamaki River and several intersection upgrades. When the $1.4b busway is fully operational, customers will be able to travel between Botany and Britomart, by bus and train, in less than 40 minutes.
Fencing has been installed around the first properties to be removed at the corner of Pakuranga Road and Ti Rakau Drive and security and safety measures have been put in place to secure the other properties while the demolition work progresses. Auckland Transport and Panuku have been working closely with social and housing organisations to ensure a smooth transition for tenants of these properties and neighbouring residents.
It’s great that this is finally happening, but it sure has taken a long time to get here. The current scheme of an urban busway has been around since about 2010 and the first stage, the upgraded Panmure Station, opened nearly 5 years ago.
Earlier this month, Auckland Transport also released a new video for the busway.
The video generally features some improved messages to what we’ve seen before. For example, I like that they highlight that by connecting at Panmure, you could get to the city from Botany in less than 40 minutes at peak times. Google suggests at peak that would take about 70 minutes by car. Also that from Botany that they’re looking at options to connect from there to the airport as part of the region’s planned strategic PT network. The map they show does has a few odd links in it though, such as the line from New Lynn to Hillsborough, Light rail down Symonds St and the Northwest to the Shore using the motorway.
They mention that the busway will eventually move about 7,500 people in the peak. To put that in perspective, Britomart currently sees just under 9k arrive in the morning peak. This is also another reason why the City Rail Link along with 9-car trains are critical as we will need a lot more capacity on the network.
Not everything is great though with the Reeves Rd Flyover still making a prominent appearance. AT even try to dress it up saying:
The new architecturally designed flyover will allow significant improvements to made to the town centre environment, including possible use of the area underneath the structure as shared pedestrian and vehicle space, creating opportunities for markets and community events
It doesn’t change that it will be a large bulky structure that won’t be pleasant to be under.