The government yesterday announced a consultation on the options for a new harbour crossing.
Aucklanders are being asked to have their say on one of the most significant city-shaping projects for Tāmaki Makaurau in coming decades, the Waitematā Harbour crossing, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced.
“The Government is upgrading New Zealand’s transport infrastructure to future proof the system for future generations to come, securing New Zealand’s economy and supporting our largest city to thrive,” Michael Wood said.
“As part of the development of options for future transport connections across the Waitematā Harbour, the project team wants to understand Aucklanders’ aspirations for a future crossing.
“This study will look at future options for people wanting to drive, walk, cycle, transport freight, take the bus or perhaps travel by light rail across the Waitematā Harbour. This will support us to confirm what new infrastructure is needed to cater for these modes, where it will go, and how to make the best use of our existing infrastructure, including the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
“Sharing information, talking and listening to our communities in Tāmaki Makaurau is a key part of this planning phase that will establish the future vision for this transformational transport programme,” Michael Wood said.
The project is a key part of expanding Auckland’s future rapid transit network.
“Where previous governments failed to plan for the long term, we are committed to preparing for and safeguarding our country’s economic future, which is why we have brought forward planning for the crossing to ensure a fully integrated transport network for Auckland,” Michael Wood said.
“Rapid transit is already moving thousands of people every day around the city using existing infrastructure like the Northern Busway, Eastern Busway and existing rail network. The Alternative Waitematā Harbour Connection, alongside the Auckland Light Rail project, will form the spine of a first class, efficient and truly integrated transport network serving Aucklanders for today and future generations.
“Our largest city needs a linked-up rapid transit transport network that will serve Aucklanders into the future, making it faster to move through the city, connecting communities, providing greater access to businesses, all while reducing congestion.
“I look forward to hearing what Aucklanders expect from a second crossing, and look forward to celebrating more milestones over the coming months,” Michael Wood said.
Firstly, it’s absurd that the government is pushing ahead with another harbour crossing to the Shore when the Northern Busway, with a few improvements, has plenty of capacity over the medium term.
Of course, the missing modes matter – the fresh air options of walking, cycling and scooting – as we enter another year in the most critical decade for climate action. But for those, a ready interim solution exists in the form of reallocating space on the existing bridge, which Waka Kotahi steadfastly refuses to consider even trialling.
But more importantly: what about the rest of the city? There’s been almost no progress on rolling out the rapid transit network for the other parts of the city.
The Northwest is soaking up much of the new housing in the city, and right now has a way more pressing case for action than both this project and the City Centre to Mangere light rail project (CC2M). The “bus improvements” currently underway along SH16, while better than what currently exists, don’t even come close to being proper rapid transit.
Likewise, there’s been only a small amount of progress on the Airport to Botany corridor, and nothing on long-signalled corridors across Upper Harbour or in the southern isthmus. And don’t even get us started on Connected Communities, which promised to de-clog the city’s arterials and after 4 years and tens of millions of dollars, have literally nothing to show for it.
As the minister notes, Auckland needs a linked-up rapid transit network. That should be what the government focuses on delivering as soon as possible, via a thought-out and prioritised programme, rather than putting this much effort into scoping out a single ‘legacy-making’ project to serve the one part of Auckland that already has a functioning rapid transit line.
This latest project isn’t the first time we’ve seen a serious effort put into another harbour crossing. In 2019 I highlighted the history of harbour crossing options from in studies in 1988, 1997/98, 2003, 2008, 2010 and the private proposal in 2009. Subsequent to that post, more work was done on the project in 2020, and last year also saw the bike bridge die.
Based on that history, here are a few key things we’ve learnt.
A road crossing is hugely expensive and will make congestion worse
The most recent figures we’ve seen suggest a road crossing as a tunnel could now cost up to $15 billion and return just $0.20 in economic benefits for ever $1 spent – and that was before inflation rocketed up. Worse, without putting in place road pricing to reduce car travel, modelling from 2018 suggested any new road crossing would just make congestion and travel times worse.
Why would we spend $15 billion to increase congestion, emissions and undermine goals for a more people focused city centre by pumping more cars into it. Alternatively, why would we spend $15 billion to add no capacity.
A combined active mode and public transport crossing is affordable
By comparison to the road crossing above, work done as part of the now cancelled Northern Pathway bridge suggested it would have only cost about $1.8 billion to build a combined PT and active mode bridge and the approaches to it. A combined PT and active bridge would send a strong statement about the future of transport in Auckland and one that is in line with goals to reduce car use and emissions.
Decouple adding the missing modes from the roads
Despite the information above, there remains a strong push by Waka Kotahi for a combined tunnel solution, such as this shown on past work.
While it might seem good at first glance, the reality is that both road and public transport crossings get compromised by being lumped together. Separating them allows for infrastructure to be optimised for the modes they’re serving and staged when they’re actually needed.
Waka Kotahi have previously admitted the addition of the Northern Busway and the shift of many people to buses pushed back the need for another road crossing by decades. Building a PT and active mode bridge and implementing road pricing would push the need for that road crossing back even further saving taxpayers billions.
Bridge or Tunnel
A bridge is preferable to a tunnel as it is cheaper to build, maintain and operate than a tunnel. It also gives us a chance to build something, ideally in co-operation with local iwi, to help make it a unique and truly iconic design.
For public transport users, a bridge is also preferable as when you’re on a bus/train you actually get a chance to enjoy the view as you cross the harbour, something you simply won’t get in a tunnel.
If a dedicated PT and active mode bridge was built it would enable the option for it to be connected directly to Wynyard Quarter. That is not only closer to where most people are travelling to but gets pedestrians and cyclists away from the noise and emissions of the current bridge and allows for walking and cycling to be given an optimal design from the start rather than having to be shoehorned onto the existing bridge which was designed with only cars and trucks in mind.
The survey on a new harbour crossing can be found here. It only takes a few minutes to complete. In addition there will be a couple of community events:
- Saturday 19 November from 8am – 2pm at Britomart community market
- Sunday 27 November from 4:30pm – 11pm at Highbury Night Markets
- Saturday 3 December from 10am – 3pm at Takapuna Christmas Carnival
- Sunday 11 December from 8:30pm – 12pm at Grey Lynn Farmers Market
However, this consultation work does feel more like a box-ticking exercise by only really asking about whether people would cycle or use public transport to cross the harbour. Like with CC2M, I find this kind of consultation, with no real information on the costs and trade-offs, at best meaningless, at worst somewhat malicious. In the case of CC2M they showed some pretty pictures of one option, which people liked, now use that to claim they have to build that option because that’s what people said they wanted.
In this case there’s more than enough previous work on the costs and impacts of the various components that they could give some informed options for people to consider. It would be far more interesting to know how many people would pick an option that costs $15 billion and increases congestion over one that costs $1.8 billion and reduces it?
Hope common sense prevails
I agree this survey is a complete waste of time and money.
I completed it yesterday and while there isn’t much of an opportunity to have a say, i did try and get across that they should just get on and build a PT/active modes crossing because if they do it will be used.
No chance to poit out that this should be way down the list of priorities though.
This is WK creating Tommy Parker’s next role. We all know the tunnelled metro/light rail project is dead man walking as is Tommy’s current role. He has always been a fan of a tunnelled harbour crossing so if this sham exercise were to ‘discover’ this is best next, he’s the man for the job.
One reason for another harbour crossing in this area is resilience especially for services and people movement. Can you address the water supply to the North Shore and other resilience matters. Also the landing of a bridge on the city side is into a very developed part of town. Has this been fully optioneered?
So what’s Upper Harbour for Adrienne?
1000’s are more important projects for 1000% less cost.
Agreed, how much repurposed onstreet parking cycle ways could we build on the isthmus for this kind of dough!?
Quite. Interesting to see AT’s mindset so obviously on display.
Well, ACY isn’t AT Board anymore, and this is a govt (not AT) initiative. But her message (assuming it is her) does seem to miss the point – that this seems to be yet another push to prioritise a project of very big cost, and dubious benefit, unless it’s clear from the start that it is NOT car-focussed. And that clear-cut caveat is sorely missing, as far as we can tell. Plus, in any scenario it is a decade out, while the short term issues and previously announced projects are left to rot again.
Harold, you can assume most people reading this specialist blog know that AYC has resigned.
Never assume! I’d have assumed that a former chair of our transport agency would have a clue about what’s needed for Auckland..not always the case.
“Harold, you can assume most people reading this specialist blog know that AYC has resigned.”
Considering we don’t even have Elon Musk’s latest “verified” nonsense here, I can, in fact, not even confirm that this was in fact AYC. If she was / is. Fair enough. But I have no proof (and it really isn’t that important anyway). Right now, right here it’s just one of many opinions in the comments form. Take it at your own judgment, but certainly don’t succumb to appeal to authority – whether or not you agree, whether or not it is AYC herself. If she’s got opinions, I am sure Matt would love to offer her a guest blog.
Upper Harbour is for cyclists ♀️
If a truck can break the harbour bridge, its got to raise serious questions around what other accidents/problems could causarise.
What would Auckland/NZ look like with the AHB out of action for a few months? The price of that disruption (like when the lights went out for months in the CBD) is way higher than the cost of any redundancy.
History tells us to expect more report writing and consultation.
An important consideration about resilience is that when you induce traffic in a congested city by adding road capacity on critical links like over the harbour, it reduces resilience; every incident throughout the network creates network problems instead of being absorbed locally, due to the increased traffic volumes citywide.
Similarly, if you reduce traffic capacity over the harbour (while improving people-moving capacity), traffic will evaporate and the resilience throughout the city will improve.
You’d have to weigh it up with the likelihood of that happening. So far in the 60 years of the harbour bridge there’s a been a two week closure of half the lanes.
What would Auckland/NZ look like with the walking/cycling/PT modes of the AHB out of action forever?
What walking and cycling on the AHB?
“The price of that disruption (like when the lights went out for months in the CBD) is way higher than the cost of any redundancy.”
Is it though? We DO have an alternative roading route to the Shore, and unless your hypothetical disaster removes the WHOLE bridge, we’d likely have around four lanes left.
Protecting against hypotheticals by spending enormous amounts of very real money means other existing OR hypothetical issues can’t be dealt with. A lot of things would be “good to have” – but it seems that certain things always seem to float to the top of any govt, and they tend to be big-ticket projects that are either explictly “more roadz” or at least have a significant component of more roads hidden within.
Also, we have already done numerous studies on this. Just look at the past history of this blog. What, specifically, makes it urgent now? Just Labour doing a “look at us, North Shore, we are thinking of you!” study before the next election? Sigh.
Options (over or under) come later. Resilience by a range of modes and locations is important. The difficulty with transport resilience is how to avoid overcapacity leading to induced traffic.
So does Auckland need another port, airport, sewage plant, southern motorway, northern motorway for resilience? No, because as Harold says the chance of a major disaster is so small that the economic cost is just absurd. Find a more sensible argument.
Note that over the last seven years the power companies have been happy to under invest in an area where we did need resilience, power generation, and I haven’t heard one argument over that period for more.
Maybe we should build 2 road tunnels because the bridge and the first tunnel might get hit by a natural disaster, we need resilience. Actually better safe than sorry, make that 3 road tunnels please
We need another port to clear the waterfront for the people
Your examples are flawed:
1) Port/Airport – hard to take an airport out.. even an earthquake the damage can be quickly repaired.
2) Sewage plant – we already have more than one and if the worst comes to worst it can always be pumped to sea (like it used to be – as unpalatable as that is).
Southern/Northern Motorways – there are plenty of other routes that can be taken – the disruption will be massive, but not total. There’s also rail/busway as alternatives.
As for power, that too has multiple distribution lines and generators etc. disruption can also be managed through power shedding etc. After previous Auckland disruptions resilience has been greatly improved.
I would agree that more can be done here especially the dry year problem – build lake Onslow pumped hydro which also is a catalyst to allow more wind generation – particularly the Taranaki offshore farms.
Back on topic, the AHB is too important and the alternative (UHB) simply isn’t up for anything more than a few days disruption (and even then it will cause economic and social pain).
Yes a PT only crossing will make a huge difference, but we are also wanting to add active modes preferably. My choice would be a new bridge that takes rail, T3/bus lanes, pedestrian AND cycle lanes. So really what we are talking about here is something like the Hong Kong Tsing Ma Bridge (with added pedestrian and cycle lanes -1377m span.
This was built for around NZ$1B in the late 90’s so given inflation and NZs construction costs it really shouldn’t be more than $4B now or $5B in a few more years.
If the bridge goes out, just use ferries? Its the answer for cycling, apparently…
God this is depressing
Ah, yet another Labour project they will do nothing on except announce.
Except that it fits into National’s transport schemes, so be prepared for them to roll a new transport strategy once in government like “2020s, Auckland was all distracted by this CRL think, in the 2030s we really need to get onto building what is needed instead – East West Link, and a new road tunnel across the harbour, maybe with a rail line, maybe not, lets see whether we can afford PT then”.
Hey that not fair. They spend millions on contractors before the project get canned.
So? I am a consultant, and I am sick of working on bad projects – and on projects that never happen. It may be good for my industry (and to be fair, private clients I have do it all the time too – it’s not limited to government to throw away months or even years or work and re-start) but I still wish to make my city better, rather than just clock in my timesheet producing virtual waste bin fodder.
Totally agree about the need to provide the public with informed options as is standard practise, other than in NZ it seems.
Indicative; cost, construction time, emissions impact and compatability with existing infrastructure need to be provided for all long list options.
If this isn’t done there will almost certainty be a repeat of the Auckland Light Rail situation where a $15 billion option was chosen while excellent options that would have cost as little as $2 billion were discarded, behind closed doors, without their $2 billion cost even being known to those behind the closed doors.
Great to see the comment from Adrienne Young-Cooper.
It’s not like this is even a good vote buyer for Labour coming up to general election. National could stand a turnip as a candidate in those north shore electorates and they’d still win.
After the last two terms of amazing delivery of projects, such as light rail (which was conceived pre labour govt). Building all these cycle lanes, surely we want more of the same.
Personally I rather have a govt that delivers what they say, vs telling us what we want to hear. I personally don’t think National or labour are fit for the job, and we need to vote for smaller parties to make them a bit bigger. so no one can veto decisions.
“we need to vote for smaller parties to make them a bit bigger. so no one can veto decisions.”
Considering it was NZ First that (reportedly, but I believe it) killed off Light Rail in Labour’s first term, I don’t see it is anywhere that simple.
It may well be correct but one thing for certain Labour have killed off light rail in their second term.
alongside a current lemon, or instead of?
The cynic in me thinks there’s a foregone conclusion, whether it’s an eye-wateringly expensive tunnel or kick the can down the road for another decade. I don’t see another bridge happening in today’s NIMBY age, though I would love to be proved wrong.
The responses from the public are likely to be highly weighted toward the familiar – i.e. another cars-only solution. Will Waka Kotahi under a future centre-right government build something with active modes and PT?
I think they will build multi-modal. The time for cars-only big ticket projects is past, I think, even in the dinosaur agencies. But that’s not a relief, because we are getting a “trying to have your cake and eat it too” approach, which is enormously pricey, as we have seen with Light Rail. Plus, when they DO make compromises, they still more likely to happen with active modes and PT.
ALR have already annexed this project to assist the justification of their monstrous tunneled tram plan. So, a 20 billion dollar tunnel ( that never happens) is what “the people want”.
It seems to comes down to two things:
– It is OK to spend arbitrary amounts of money on roads.
– It is not OK to spend money on projects that don’t involve roads.
If you have a road project then it is something that “has to be done”. As soon as you drop the road part, the cost becomes a consideration.
Every project,either has to be a vote winner or a legacy, “The Michael Wood Bridge “,this is neither ,this Govt is floundering, it won’t even be a distraction.
I did the survey and it only discussed PT such as light rail and bus, as well as walking and cycling. I didn’t get the sense they were talking about another road for cars.
Yeah this stuff is an annoying waste of time, but this seems to be the best we can ask for and for my mental health I’ll take it and focus elsewhere such as North West.
If they do stupidly build a new road tunnel, surely make it EV only. That should remove a lot of the ventilation costs (and encourage EV uptake).
Im pondering finding someone in a wheelchair who is being denied/restricted access across our harbour. Human rights violation. NZTA/AT – just liberate a lane, save us some carbon, some money, a lot of time – and i can walk and ride my family across our city.
Human rights and safety don’t apply to government departments. How many times have we heard that they are not going to fix something obviously dangerous because no one has died there recently. Imagine a roofing company saying “we are not going to scaffold this roof replacement because no one has died on this roof before”!
The IT company I work for has more safety processes in place to prevent paper cuts than AT have to prevent deaths.
And worksafe considers roadworkers part of their remit – but not the dangers that Council designs, or roadworkers, cause to others.
Actually, not even sure whether roadworkers are part of what worksafe see as their remit. But then, COPTTM is actually pretty good practice, and reasonably well enforced – for dangers to roadworkers. You’re still pretty much out of luck if you walk or cycle through some roadworks sites.
Aucklandrs will get a say…. Yea right.
We will get some online questionnaire asking stupid questions like
Do you work locally?
Do you live on the north shore?
How often do you travel over the bridge?
Do you own a bicycle?
What is your vision for Auckland?
And somehow they come up with a plan for the crossing.
They should design a few options and provide the details and let us vote which one we want.
Basic example below.
Option (a) 2 x 2 lane road tunnels and 1 x 2 lane rail tunnel.
Option (b) cheaper 2 lane smart road tunnel (Changes to south bound in morning and north bound in evening)
And a 2 lane transit tunnel.
Option (C) 7 lane cable stay bridge between Victoria Park and Northcote point, 4 traffic lanes 2 rail lines 1 active mode lane.
Option (d) cheaper 5 lane concrete beam bridge parallel to existing bridge 5 lanes, 2 traffic lanes, 2 bus lanes and 1 active lane.
You have to avoid answers to be like “yes we like ice cream, so go ahead, give us that 100 kg of free ice cream”.
Some options will be cheaper than others. Telling people the cost is not trivial. Most people don’t know that a 5 billion dollar project is more expensive than a 50 million dollar one.
Nobody intuitively understands the difference between those two numbers, beyond ‘that is more money than what I will earn in my lifetime’. Maybe they can express it like $20 of your average tax payer’s tax money vs. $2,000 of that tax money.
Survey: “If a magic crossing appeared tomorrow, how would you use it?”
A useful question: “What would your children want a crossing to have, and how would they use it?” Especially as new-borns will be in tertiary education at least when “it” opens.
And: As a responsible government we know the global situation will not provide your children with the means for paying for this without hardship, so if this generation wants it, it’s up to us to fund it. Thus, how would you like to pay for it during the next few years? With higher general taxes or higher road user charges?
Government debt doesn’t really work like that, unlike individuals, governments don’t die ie debt can managed over generations etc, but hey I’m a spendthrift socialist haha. Anyway to be contrarian, I actually think a combined tunnel with HT plus cars will be an asset to Auckland, this would ideally that would allow the “Nippon Clip-on’s” to be replaced (As I understand it, they have already passed their specified intended life) with new lanes that include pedestrian & cycling. Peace.
Yes, that’s all true. But is it the most urgent spend for Auckland in the next decade, especially when we could lighten the load on the clip-ons with negligable (yep) impact on Auckland drivers and provide for walking and cycling on the bridge next year, at a cost of about of the future catering for the public consultation exercises for the bridge built alone?
Opportunity cost is the biggest reason not to do big ticket items. And when the North Shore has reasonable PT on the bridge, and no walking and cycling on the bridge, the sane answer would be to keep the centre four lanes for cars, take 1-2 lanes for active transport, and the remaining two for buses, and maybe trucks (why do we still not have that?). See, you have just lightened the load on the aging clip-ons and at the same time improved Auckland’s transport a lot. At a mere fraction of the cost.
But because it removes car priority, it has about as much chance in Auckland as getting a mayor who’s not an older male (i.e. possible but fricking low).
That’s the single biggest factor at play here, when or if the clip-ons need replacing.
If they do then a new bridge/tunnel will have at least some vehicle capacity.
Yes as suspected the survey was about as useless as a wet blanket in the cold.
I don’t think any of the questions even related to a crossing.
How do they call this public input?
“Firstly, it’s absurd that the government is pushing ahead with another harbour crossing to the Shore when the Northern Busway, with a few improvements, has plenty of capacity over the medium term.” – so lets not work on something that is critical and long overdue because there are also other things to be done. What kind of logic is that?
What’s critical and long overdue?
The harbour bridge will last “indefinitely” in the NZTA’s words. And the busway has many years of capacity left in it.
PT & active mode bridge is all we need.
1000x yes. If the plan is to reduce vkt in Aukland by 15% by 2030 why would more roads be necessary? And presumably that number only goes up from 15% after 2030? My bet is that with 5 adverse weather events in Gisborne in just the last year, that 15% will become a lot larger number before 2030. But just because I score very highly for logical thinking means squat.
15%? AT enthusiastically endorsed and Council approved a 50% reduction in light vehicle vkt in Auckland by 2030.
So, yes. There is no need for more road capacity over the harbour and every need for a reduction – while adding the missing modes and improving public transport.
There is zero chance of a 50% reduction in VKT by 2030. Even 15% is extremely ambitious.
All it needs is leadership and technical competence.
Odds are that this is going to be a push poll, with questions carefully crafted so that they get the politically right answer.
A key piece of infrastructure that Auckland needs in the medium to long term. Makes a lot more sense than a white elephant tram down Dominion Road (about as much use as the Wynyard Quarter tram). Stop spending money on light rail and invest in this project. But first build a dedicated bus lane to the NW. In saying all that, this does seem suspiciously like its leading to another Labour promise in election year 2023….
A dedicated busway to the NW will take the same space as Light Rail and introduce bus traffic that has to be coordinated at each end. Might as well skip straight to Light Rail and then extend it to Constellation when the Shore gets it.
Its been a while since we had someone equate LRT with a slow moving Tram….
I agree that the rough order of costs should be up front in the survey. Of course the same goes for all the similar surveys / have your say feedback forms by AC/AT. They usually have some idyllic unrealistic render of what it will look like, but no mention of cost range. A great example is the often mentioned Pt Chev to Westmere cycle lane / improvements which has quadrupled in cost from the first version.
The consultation does not specify that the AWHC is to be a road tunnel. In fact the preferred outcome as far as the current Government is concerned is a rail tunnel. A fast rail connection to the shore would allow a lane on the bridge to be repurposed for active modes.
Also, can you stop pretending that the current bridge situation can allow for active modes. This has been debunked plenty of times – by experts – and your continued demand for this is a total waste of time.
A stand alone active mode bridge was going to cost a billion dollars, the CBR on that would be far worse than what you calculate for a road tunnel.
At the end of the day, the government has asked for peoples opinions. Just fill in the form.
The government calculated both CBR’s. Active modes only, and the car tunnel option.
The active modes CBR came out 3 times better. 0.6 vs 0.2.
…and the ‘active modes’ bridge wasn’t an active modes bridge, it was designed to carry maintenance lorries and fire engines. Massively over-engineered for light active modes, but not quite enough for dedicated PT. Make it up to a PT and active bridge, or reduce it to a light structure with access links from the existing bridge for emergencies, and the CBR would probably rocket.
With the ongoing pressure to provide pedestrian and cyclist access across the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the need for rail to the North Shore to move greater numbers of people than what buses can into the CBD, it is clear that the current bridge, which is now no longer fit for the needs of Auckland in the 21st century and is structurally getting to the end of its life, needs to be replaced with a new bridge rather than a tunnel.
This needs to occur in conjunction with making better use of the citywide motorway and roading network by removing all the congestion causing on ramp signals, and replacing with toll gantries on all motorway on ramps from Warkworth to Bombay, which would replace the present Auckland fuel levy. The toll gantries would only be on the on ramps and not at the beginning of the motorways, so as not to charge people traveling right through Auckland.
Doing this would: 1) reduce unnecessary travel on the motorways, 2) help to incentivise people within Auckland to use alternative options such as public transport, and 3) keep the motorways freer for those that really need to use them and making it worth paying to use.
The tolls collected on the motorway system would then help fund the following essential transport infrastructure projects which Auckland needs:
1. Replace the current Auckland Harbour Bridge with a new bridge, to a design similar to that proposed with the ANZAC Centenary Bridge a few years ago, which would incorporate road traffic lanes on the top, with light rail, pedestrian and cycle paths underneath, running in a more direct route from Victoria Park in the CBD through to Northcote Point:
2. Convert the Northern Busway into a regular standard street level light rail line running from Silverdale via the new harbour bridge into the city along Fanshawe Street, into two routes running 1) via Queen Street, K Road, Great North Road and the SH16 Northwestern Motorway to Westgate, and 2) via Customs Street, Anzac Avenue, Symonds Street, Dominion Road to Stoddard Road in Mt Roskill.
3. Create a proper motorway into East Auckland with converting the South Eastern Highway (from the intersection of O’Rorke Road in Penrose), through to Ti Rakau Drive and Te Irirangi Drive into a proper full motorway, with grade separated interchanges along its length, including with the SH1 Southern Motorway at either end at Mt Wellington and Manukau.
The road corridor is wide enough to do this, as well as in conjunction:
4. A new light rail line to be built along the centre of the new eastern motorway from Panmure station, along the route of the current Eastern Busway along Lagoon Drive, Pakuranga Road, Ti Rakau Drive, Te Irirangi Drive, Great South Road, Ronwood Avenue, Davies Avenue to Manukau station.
5. Build a heavy rail line between Onehunga and Puhinui / Manukau via Auckland Airport, with double tracking the existing Onehunga Branch line and extending it across the Manukau Harbour to Auckland Airport, through to the main trunk line at Puhinui, running alongside SH20 South Western Motorway, SH20A and Puhinui Road.
Doing this will then enable the current Onehunga line and Eastern line via Panmure to be linked together in a large loop via the City Rail Link tunnel and Manukau station, providing a rapid transit loop which covers most of urban Auckland.
Also in conjunction with this, the current Southern line and Western line would be linked together into one route which runs across Auckland from Pukekohe to Swanson / Helensville, which needs to be achieved with:
6. Extending the double tracking and electrification on the North Auckland line (Western line) from Swanson to Helensville.
By doing this, two simple ‘one seat journeys’ would be created with the existing heavy rail network with a central loop covering much of the city, and a cross town route running from one side of Auckland to the other.
Having a rail line running via Auckland Airport would also enable a much-needed proper decent long distance inter-regional rail terminal to be built for Auckland at the airport, thus providing better links into Auckland and to the Auckland International Airport from neighbouring regions.
Doing all the above would significantly help reduce Auckland’s congestion and improve travel times across the city, by reducing unnecessary travel on the city’s motorway network, while at the same time providing a proper fast motorway route through East Auckland, and creating a sensible heavy rail and light rail rapid transit network along routes which will be of the most benefit and use to a far greater number of people across Auckland.
Tolling is commonly used on motorways / freeways overseas, including Australia. There would still be free alternative road routes to the motorways for those that don’t want to pay, or else the option of using a much better public transport system which would cover Auckland with these specific rail projects.
There needs to be bold, large scale change to Auckland’s transport infrastructure system if ever the congestion situation in Auckland is to be sorted. Carrying on doing the same thing or spending billions on one half-tunneled light rail line via Sandringham to the airport, is not going to result in any real noticeable change.
“and is structurally getting to the end of its life,”
This is not correct and WK have confirmed the bridge does not have a limited lifespan
I’ve only just got round to looking at the brochure (https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/projects/awhc/docs/Waitemata-Harbour-Connections-information-brochure.pdf), which says the bridge only carries 254,000 people a day in 184,000 vehicles. As it has 8 lanes, that averages 31,750 per lane. Light rail can handle that number in under 2 hours, or a cycle lane in 3 hours, so why do they want to waste $100m+ on a new crossing, when they could get ample capacity just by converting half the lanes on the bridge?
Putting a new crossing on or next to the existing Harbour Bridge is an utterly pointless waste of time and money. It will still be connected at both ends to the same bit of the motorway system, so will not make any difference to congestion at all – the Bridge itself is rarely a problem, it’s the fools continually changing lanes leading up to and after the bridge that cause the problems. If they want a new bridge t needs to be in a different location, and the only location that makes any sense is Devonport -> Parnell, then you have links at the west (Greenhithe), central (Harbour Bridge), and east (Devonport). Connecting Beach Haven through to Greenhithe would also help.
a walking of cycling bridge option is also a complete waste of money. After the initial “wow” factor, it will be hardly used – the distance is simply too far for walking and the bridge height to allow for ships to steep for cycling. Walkers through a massive long tunnel is not going to happen either.
The biggest waste of money would be basing the next crossing on the mode already well catered for and (again) dismissing the needs of the missing modes.
You are just inviting more and more cars onto the network and expect congestion to be solved? Give people options like every other city outside of NZ
For goodness sake ! Not everyone wants to go anywhere near to the CBD or cross North via Takapuna. Please could we have a crossing near the old Greenhithe Bridge, so that people out west can get to Albany, and north, without going anywhere near the CBD,!.