Here’s our roundup for the week.


City Rail Link

There have been some more great images and progress out of the City Rail Link team.

Last Friday there was a ceremonial spade in the ground at Aotea Station to mark a move to starting to dig underground.

The celebration included this image of Councillor Pippa Coom at the controls of a digger which seems ideal for a caption competition – go at it.

Up the hill at Karangahape Rd there are some amazing pictures coming out of the station that is being dug out.

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Finally at Mt Eden the project will be getting very close to actually starting up the Tunnel Boring Machine. I also noticed in an update they said “The final Mt Eden station design will be made public later in the year“. It will be interesting to see just what design is.


Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr

Those of you who catch the Eastern Line may have noticed but for the rest of us, over Easter the contractors on section 2 of the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr path installed the beams for the new bridge over the rail line.

A 400 tonne mobile crane, one of the largest in the country, was needed to lift the beams into position.

Section 2 of the shared path provides a connection for people walking or riding their bikes and scooters between St Johns Road and Ōrākei Basin, and links Sections 1 and 3 which are already completed.

The seven kilometre path is being delivered by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport, as part of a connected network of paths to provide people with choices about how they travel around.

Weighing up to 62 tonnes and some more than 30 metres in length, the beams were positioned on top of the already constructed crossheads, to form the base of the rail bridge.

…..

Significant progress has been made to date with earthworks, intersection upgrades, fencing, slip remediation and pest plant removal carried out alongside the construction of the path and boardwalk.

The path is due to be completed in the middle of next year


The New Mangere Bridge

Speaking of bridges, another update from Waka Kotahi this week highlighted how they’ve now started work on the bridge deck for the Old Mangere Bridge Replacement.

The construction team has spent months working in cofferdams within the harbour to build two piers and with these now completed, work has been undertaken to install seven large beams between the piers which act as the base of the bridge deck.

“The first span, together with the two completed piers is allowing us to see the great progress the team is making, and over the coming months the bridge will really start to take shape,” says Waka Kotahi National Manager Infrastructure Delivery Andrew Thackwray.

Each span requires seven beams and the size and scale of these means this is a time-consuming process. Up to 21m in length and weighing about 30 tonnes, only one beam can be trucked onto site at a time. In total, 71 concrete beams are needed for the project.

The beams are being constructed in Tauranga using a mould and reinforced steel bars which act like a skeleton before the moulds are then filled with concrete. Each beam is left to cure, and this process takes around two days before they are transported to Auckland.

The team will be working on building the remaining piers and installing the additional beams throughout the rest of this year. All beams are planned to be in place by early 2022 with the bridge open later in the year.


SH20B Upgrade Complete

On to something that has finished, last week Minister of Transport Michael Wood cut the ribbon to signify the completion of the SH20B upgrade that has added transit lanes to that corridor and will help in providing reliable bus trips to the airport when combined with the soon to be completed Puhinui Station upgrade.

The State Highway 20B Early Improvements project has added new lanes in each direction for buses and T3 vehicles to share. A shared path for people on foot and bikes will provide locals and commuters with more transport options for getting to the airport, work, schools and shops.

“This project is a great step along the way to reducing carbon emissions as it gives people cleaner, more environmentally friendly and efficient transport options,” says Waka Kotahi National Manager Infrastructure Delivery Andrew Thackwray.

The new bus lanes between Pūkaki Creek Bridge and the SH20 interchange will support electric AirportLink buses providing a frequent service between the airport, Puhinui Station Interchange and Manukau.

Below are some of the before and after images with it now looking to have vast swathes of asphalt.

SH20B looking west towards Auckland Airport
Intersection of SH20B and Manukau Memorial Gardens, looking from east to west

Given these lanes were paid for out of the public transport budget it is somewhat disappointing that they’re T3 and will eventually become general traffic lanes as the Airport to Botany project is meant to add a dedicated busway. I also worry buses will still get held up behind T3 vehicles when they have to merge with general traffic to cross the two-lane Pūkaki Creek Bridge.


SH1 widening

Just before celebrating the completion of SH20B, the minister also kicked off construction on the next motorway project, widening SH1 between Papakura and Drury.

The diggers are out and shovels in the ground with construction work starting on improvements to Auckland’s Southern Motorway between Papakura and Drury which will see extra lanes added as well as a path for people on bikes and on foot.

Transport Minister Michael Wood led the official start of construction this morning, on the SH1 Papakura to Drury South project. It’s part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) which is investing more than $6.8 billion in road, public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure to get our cities moving, save lives and future-proof the economy.

“This project will deliver a range of more sustainable transport choices by providing a third lane in each direction, wide shoulders to allow for future bus services and more options for walking and cycling, linking with a city wide network that is being developed for pedestrians and cyclists,” says Waka Kotahi National Infrastructure Delivery Manager Andrew Thackwray.

….

The first stage of construction awarded to Fulton Hogan covers works within the existing motorway boundaries from the north side of Papakura interchange to the BP motorway service centre north of Otūwairoa / Slippery Creek.

It will extend capacity improvements north of Papakura delivered by the Southern Corridor Improvements project and includes the replacement of the Park Estate Road overbridge. A new noise wall on the eastern side of SH1 between Papakura interchange and the overbridge will also be installed.

The claims that the shoulders will be used for buses laughable. There is little value in running buses along the motorway where there are no stops, but especially so when there’s a rail line parallel to the motorway. Perhaps the real positive to this project is, even though it was announced at the same time, it does further remove any justification for Mill Rd.


Dan Bidois on Transport Decision Making

I did have to laugh this week at this opinion piece from former National MP Dan Bidios. He talks about the need for better transport spending and outcomes and suggests three ways we can achieve this.

First, we should mandate public consultation for the evaluation of infrastructure needs and priorities

In the commercial world, the customer is always right. As such, customer surveys form a valuable part of the process for any new product development or improved service offering. The same principle should apply to choosing transport projects. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency should regularly survey the public to help refine transport needs and prioritise projects.

So we should listen to the over 11,000 that submitted in support of Skypath and not the 159 that opposed it then – note: he has supported it but always with strings attached

Second, we should improve the use of cost-benefit analysis to ensure value for money in every project

We need to strengthen the use of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) within business cases to better assess transport projects. It is important to remember that not all costs or benefits of a project are about cash. Doing so would improve public debate and decision-making around which projects to pursue and which ones to reconsider.

CBAs should be conducted before committing to projects, rather than retrospectively. Waka Kotahi’s business cases read more like glossy marketing documents justifying an already chosen project rather than detailing a robust assessment of a project’s total lifetime costs and benefits.

You mean like how most of the Roads of National Significance failed a cost-benefit analysis but were pushed on with anyway. Or pushing for another harbour crossing that the analysis shows costs billions and only makes traffic worse?

Third, we need a bipartisan approach to transport projects

We need to take the politics out of transport project planning and prioritisation. My observations are that politicians can be too quick to arrive at a transport solution before they have fully understood it. They, too, need to consult communities, businesses, and other stakeholders to ensure they mandate credible transport projects.

It’s a bit rich for a (former) politician to now decry we need to take the politics out of transport, especially when he was more than happy to politicise decision making such as trying to push for another harbour crossing, or when he was pushing to downgrade the T3 lanes on Onewa Rd to T2 despite all the evidence suggesting it would make things worse for everyone on that corridor.


Finally this week, if you drive around Upper Harbour note the road layout on SH18 is changing from Tuesday with eastbound traffic now using the new off-ramp at Paul Matthews Rd.


Have a safe long weekend.

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53 comments

    1. How does a no one like Bidios even get an opinion piece?

      Do they pay Stuff out of thier own pockets in order to raise thier own profile?

      (yet another reason I refuse to read stuff and the nu zlund hirld)

    2. You don’t seriously think Dan Bidois has actually come to his senses? I don’t think he’s psychologically capable of putting himself in the position of a walker, cyclist or PT user. What’s sad is that he thinks he is.

  1. GI2T – Impressive structure, frustrating it’s taken sooooo long to get to the stage and yet they haven’t even started the section between Tamaki Drive & Orakei Station have they?

    1. Not yet, and I don’t think there are any plans for one. However if you look on a map it’s absolutely inevitable. And the nzta have a corridor easement I believe. It’d be like having 2 motorway sections separated by a 100m of dirt road

      1. There is an ok route on the other side of Merton Rd except for a small section on Morrin Road. Behind Storage King is a walkway that joins up with Hannigan Dr, Tainui Rd then Morrin Rd. That joins up with the Te Horeta Road cycleway and then onto Mt Wellington Highway or the shared path on the new Eastern Busway.

        Te Horeta Rd is meant to eventually join up with Merton Rd, all the land is already owned by Waka Kotahi. With all the work in Tamaki, I think it will need to be sooner than later.

        1. +1, they should just build the cycleway now. Never mind Te Horata Road, build the cycleway on the new alignment o on existing roads, but plug the gap!

  2. Bidois not Bidios.

    I thought he was a poor MP but at least get his name right and yeah maybe he has had a re-think . WK certainly needs to be more accountable.

  3. The karangahape station is looking really cool. The final interior design will be very important. The new crossrail stations are architectural masterpieces. Hopefully we can get something similar. Some hints to a volcanic theme with all the basalt around would be cool.

    GITD path is going to be great wish it was more of a cycleway with a seperate pedestrian bit. But oh well. If this is connected well to the new ameti paths (when completed) it would be a fantastic long distance path all the way to botany.

    There are some great transport projects coming due soon as well.

    1. Not mentioned in the WK media release.

      It’s a good question. Also, whether the business case looked at the additional cost of additional cameras per location that are required to enforce a T lane.

  4. Just wait for the chaos and complaints when WK divert the ‘eastbound’ traffic through an intersection at Paul Matthews Road. The ‘eastbound’ is the majority of the traffic as it includes everyone going to Constellation Drive and heading towards Takapuna and Auckland on the motorway.

    1. I’d be really interested to see the turning counts at SH18/1. I would have thought that about 1/3 of the traffic is already going north and that will only increase as all of the sprawl further north and in the northwest comes online.

      1. It has certainly grown as a result of the ridiculous signage at Waterview telling people to use the longer SH16/SH18 route- (google traffic shows most times of the day you are better off using SH16 into town and SH1).
        But the counts at the time they planned the SH18/SH1 interchange showed the biggest movement was Upper Harbour Highway to Constellation Dr and the reverse. But WK don’t really care about that as they think everyone gets on a state highway in Wellington and gets off in Kaitaia. “Local roads? What are they” say Waka Kotahi.

        Now they will take the larger movements that a free flowing for most of the day and squeeze them through a set of signals. It should be funny.

    2. It is going to be chaotic at Paul Matthews for sure. Hopefully once the 18/1 connection northbound is opened late next year it will improve.

      A link to SH1 southbound was never in scope. They don’t want that to be built until after the new Waitemata crossing.

      The realignment of Carribbean is an improvement though.

  5. That “new” old Mangere bridge…. what is its purpose again? Wasn’t it just going to be a walking and cycling and fishing bridge? But it appears to be made of 7 solid reinforced concrete beams to each span, each over a metre deep and filled with solid concrete, weighing 30 tonnes each… with not a space in between… Over-designed much?

    Why?

    1. Yes they found the road pavement between Tauranga and Auckland was in a far better condition than it should be, so they designed to this bridge to use 30 tonne beams that could be made in Tauranga and driven to Auckland. The pavement quality should be reduced to the usual standard soon.

    2. If you pack people on a bridge like that you can get surprisingly high loads. More than an equivalent bridge packed with cars which are mostly empty space. A lot of lighter pedestrian bridges you see around, eg doc bridges, have very low maximum loads / people count. Whereas in the city you cant do that. Plus because right on top of the ocean, it kind of has to be concrete, or some insane maintenance schedule on steel. And its supposed to last for a very long time, so it probably shouldn’t be wood.

      That said, it does look overkill.

  6. Pippa on the Digger caption:

    “I love this machine! Can I borrow it over the weekend to remove all those cars that keep parking in our bike lanes?”

    1. “Councillor uses new powers for creating a healthy city, slamming the CCO Review recommendations as too few, too late, and already forgotten.”

    2. Bus changes in the central city mainly due to the upgraded Lower Albert Street is opening again to the NX1 etc. Surprise it wasn’t included in this weekly roundup. Perhaps it is going to be in Mondays post. Seems it’s because downtown/Quay st works are cleared enough for this to happen.

  7. There are two things I found interesting with Dan Bidois’ opinion piece. First, it is blatantly obvious that the train from Hamilton to Papakura is a complete waste of money – and Papakura isn’t Auckland. A certain Patrick Reynolds also thinks the same and I always enjoyed his articles here. But the more interesting is the $1b deficit per year for the last 37 years (so multiple governments from both main parties). We have underfunded and wasted money on vanity. The system as we have now isn’t working and I suspect putting more money will only result in the same (this is true for a lot of government spending). Time for a rethink on how we do this.

    1. The cycleway should help with access and connectivity, but still a long way between Meadowbank and GI stations.

      I think a station in between has been discussed before but buses and the cycleway will probably suffice.

    2. You obviously didn’t read the article if you got the impression that Reynolds thinks that a train between the two cities is a waste of money. He thinks that the *current service* is a waste of money.

      1. Does Reynolds think spending a lot more money would not be a waste of money?
        His two points seemed to be about speed and lack of stops. I really can’t see more stops making it that much more viable, most of those places are pretty small. Maybe the ones closer to Auckland would attract commuters, but wouldn’t an extension of the Pukekohe service be better for that?
        As for speed, isn’t it really only important for commuters? How many of these do we expect? Off peak it is never going to compete with driving in terms of speed regardless (unless maybe you happen to live in Auckland City and need to go to Hamilton city or vice versa).

        1. He used the worst of both worlds analogies. It’s as slow as an all stops service, with as few stops and services as a peak period express service. I understand that to mean ‘we should run services much more frequently and stop at each town’.

          You don’t need to spend a lot more money to achieve that because running the services is actually really cheap, buying locomotives, setting up ticketing, and building the stations was the expensive bit.

        2. Well he once called me a dumb arse in the comments but I would have to agree with Morgan if it can’t be fast at least it might as well be frequent and stop at all stations. A DMU might have made it a bit faster but we didn’t have one or three so we have got what we have got. Build some more stations and run a few more trains. Any way he is Waks Kotahi now so he is part of the solution. Go hard or go home.

        3. Zippo why not service Pokeno via an extension to the frequent diesel train to Puke? Running a very infrequent train all the way to Hamilton to serve Pokeno seems a bit odd to me. Unless there really is demand from Hamilton (which at the moment it does not seem that way), then aren’t we better to extend the current frequent Auckland services a bit further?

        4. Auckland Transport have no interest in running a train to the Waikato Region. Electrification to Pukekohe will allow them to get rid of clapped out old diesel units.
          Anyway, isn’t a bit soon to dismiss Te Huia it as a failure? If a new public transport service must be full from day one, then there is no point actually trying to introduce any new service ever as it will be an instant fail.

        5. Had they spent that $100 mil on cables instead of Te Huia they probably would have had enough to electrify all the way to Pokeno.
          Maybe it is too soon to call it a failure, but I also think it is too soon to spend more money on it. Its never going to be quick without a lot of money, I’m sure that was known from day one.

        6. GK Those DMU’s aren’t clapped out , they may be old but if there is a power cut will they stop , no . And when was the last time that you travelled on one ? .

        7. Jimbo, their budget includes only $3m a year actually running trains. They spent way too much building park and rides (more parking spaces for cars than spaces for people on the train!) and a fancy bus interchange (that no buses run to early enough to get the train!) when they should have spent it on running the trains more.

          $3m a year more would double the capacity and frequency of the line, and provide trains in both directions and through the middle of the day.

          So yes spending a few more pennies on service would go al long way to fix the fact they wasted pounds on parking lots.

    3. Adrian, you are right that the system is almost completely broken. Spending a significant amount of money on “the forgotten highway” is perhaps the greatest testament to this. Why would any sane person invest more in a road that has less horly traffic than your average cul de sac?

      The government proposal today to charge motorists per km that they travel is exciting. It brings equity to paying for roads. If you choose to bike and use the occasional bus you will pay little. However, if you ski every weekend during the winter, or go to your Tutakaka bach; or commute half way across Auckland; you will rightly pay for that use. (European research has shown that those who travel the longest distances are the most wealthy.)

      If motorists are required to pay the true cost of using and building roads then they are likely to use them less often. If you look at the proportion of people who use intercity trains in Italy it is phenomenal. That is greatly assisted by having high speed trains of course. Arguably, paying directly for road use will cause less non sensical projects to be built.

      Making road transport self funding would leave money for the development of high speed rail; affordable PT and better PT infrastructure.

      And the transport industry? Nothing would change because they would still be able to pass on transport costs; except now it may be cheaper to put goods on rail with the environmental benefits that would bring.

      It is refreshing that Bidois is lining the National Party to support such a policy, and that makes sense given that National has been toying with this idea themselves.

      Just as the health system is due for massive overhaul so too is transport.

    1. The last mile problem. Hobsonville to the ferry terminal is the perfect use case for bicycles. Why catch an every 20 minute bus and be locked in for such a short trip. When a 7 minute bike ride or a 4 minute drive would be vastly faster and more convenient.
      And that’s when the bike ride takes a super squiggly round about way.
      It’d only be 5 minutes (by googles count) if the better bike path went along the road. (I’m measuring this from hobsonville sushi.) The bike path going to the ferry would only need some marginal improvements, some of those concrete ovals, or similar to separate them from the road better, to wrap around to a better side road treatment. And some great bike parking at the terminal.

      I do wonder what the bicycle stats are like to the ferry terminal. Its probably eating a lot of the bus demand. But harder to measure. And I’m purely guessing. I don’t live there. But if I did I’d take my bike on the ferry.

      1. Jack, you make a great point about why can’t a vast number of Hobsonville Pt residents bike to the ferry terminal. AT don’t believe that they can and so they have recently constructed much more park and ride space. Why are AT completely MIA when it comes to attempting to reduce carbon emissions?

        1. Also an example of the development having poor PT from the start and thus making car use the favoured option. Now trying to change behaviours is more difficult. Housing went in with little or no PT and the nearest shops ( supermarkets etc) some distance away so people drive.

        2. Do any of the residents who live there know more than we can speculate on?
          Is there any solid bike parking, do many people do that etc etc. I wouldn’t know because I dont live there.

          It is the perfect case study, if the infrastructure was set up well.

          I might go out there one day soon and see.

  8. Hard to compete with all that free carparking on the streets approaching the ferry terminal…..

    But sounds like the quality of the connecting bus service still needs work. Personally speaking I dont know why anyone bothers to drive such a short distance and go through the hassle of finding a park if there is a perfectly reliable bus service running past my door.

    I am considering a move to West Harbour and one of the drawcards is the bus-ferry connection for when I head to the office in the CBD 2-3 times a week.

    1. “Free car parking” only for the lucky end user. The capital cost of it has cost the rate payer dearly as does renewal spending over the years. This spending severely compromises AT’s ability to invest in infrastructure for other mode shares and we see that the addition of new bike lanes is almost non existent.
      What possibly can be AT’s rationale for not charging for a facility that is provided?

      1. Worse still, that free parking is taking the place of adequate cycle lanes.

        But the genie is out of the bottle now. Its going to be very difficult to now either charge or repurpose.

  9. I thought that they had a final design for Mt Eden Station witth all the You Tube videos that have been online , or has someone changed their underpants and decided the Station also needs changing or have they found out they may get more money if they can build a more costly Station Building ? .
    As they starting to put in the Foundations it costs more if you decide to shange what goes on top .

    1. I would be under the impression that they mean the final design for the fit out, not the structural or critical functional elements. Say what exactly the paneling, paint, lighting, artwork placement, what the public spaces will look like exactly.

  10. From Stuff today, “Auckland golf course shuts holes after wayward drives risk lives on motorway.”

    Compare this with Lake Road Devonport where a pedestrian and a cyclist have actually died in the last two years and nothing has been done to alleviate the risk.

    1. Did you read the comments section? Many claiming that this is a clandestine way of pushing through the redevelopment decision that was reversed a few years back.

      One can only hope…

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