Big transport news today with the government beginning public engagement on options for the Waitemata Harbour Connections project. This project has had an incredibly long history, with previous versions somehow managing to be incredibly expensive, detrimental to most of the transport outcomes we are trying to achieve in Auckland, and massively environmentally damaging. It’s not for nothing that we have called this the stupidest transport project ever.

Information on the options was included in a press release from the Minister of Transport this morning:

Transport Minister Michael Wood has unveiled five scenarios for one of the most significant city-shaping projects for Tāmaki Makaurau in coming decades, the additional Waitematā Harbour crossing.

 “Aucklanders and businesses have made it clear that the biggest barriers to the success of Auckland is persistent congestion and after years of inaction by the previous government we are on track to fix it,” Michael Wood said.

 “We want an unclogged, connected, and futureproofed transport network so Aucklanders can get to work on time, and don’t need to wake up earlier just to get their kids to school – it’s vital that we have a harbour crossing that works for the city.

 “The additional Waitematā Harbour connections, for which construction will begin in 2029, will providing a future proofed solution for people wanting to travel across Te Waitematā be it by car, bus, light rail, walking, cycling, or truck as fast as possible.

 “After considering feedback from Aucklanders, we’ve developed five scenarios for future transport connections across Te Waitematā including both bridge and tunnel options. The scenarios also include ways to connect to growing residential and business hubs on the North Shore.

 “Each scenario includes a new walking and cycling link across Te Waitematā, a new light rail link that will connect to Auckland Light Rail in the City Centre, and will build generations of resilience into State Highway One for private vehicles and freight.

 “Through the Government’s investment we a building a linked up rapid transit network across the city, to provide faster, safer, low-carbon travel. This connection, with Light Rail at its heart, is key to delivering this vision.

 “Rapid transit already delivers tens of millions of journeys across Auckland every year through the heavy rail network and the Northern busway, but we know that we have to keep investing to build the fully integrated, linked up network we need for a modern, connected region.

 “A new rapid transit connection from the city centre to the North Shore will fully integrate with other projects including Auckland Light Rail and rapid transit to the Northwest to allow people to travel seamlessly across Auckland,” Michael Wood said.

 Feedback provided will help shape the final decision on the preferred option for the crossing which will be confirmed in June 2023.

In recent years it seems like sanity has been slowly but surely returned to this work. A 2020 business case made it clear that a rapid transit connection should proceed ahead of and new road capacity, as well as also highlighting the opportunity for significantly lower costs through building the crossing as a bridge rather than a tunnel. More recently, the next phase of planning has been digging into the details of tunnel and bridge options in more detail. Today we see the results of that.

At its heart, this consultation is a discussion of various combinations of bridge and tunnel options for road and rapid transit crossings, as well as how a walking and cycling bridge would be provided for. The performance of each option against a bunch of different criteria (including cost, at a very very high level) is also presented. The map below shows the variety of different alignments being considered for crossing options between the city and Takapuna:

The high level assessment of bridges and tunnels continues Waka Kotahi’s long-running ’tilting of the scales’ towards tunnels, by underplaying what the cost different might be. It’s also worth noting the higher embodied carbon emissions from constructing a tunnel – as we know from the Auckland Light Rail work that tunnels can take many decades of mode shift benefits before they offset the increased emissions from their construction.

I’ve pulled all five of the options together into a single image below so you can easily compare them.

  • Option 1 has tunnels for both road and rapid transit, with walking and cycling provided for on the existing Harbour Bridge’s clip-ons. The assessment of this options gives it five dollar signs for cost (each apparently equating to $5 billion increments), which suggests an eye-watering total cost of around $25 billion. The route via Belmont and Hauraki to Takapuna is a bit odd – serving an area that seems allergic to any growth – but is definitely better than previous tunnelled rapid transit alignments that seemed to go out of their way to avoid land.
  • Option 2 builds a new bridge adjacent to the current one for road, rapid transit and walking & cycling. This is by far the cheapest option, but amazingly is still forecast to cost around $15 billion. Presumably this cost includes extending the light-rail up to Albany, even though this isn’t shown on the map.
  • Option 3 builds a new bridge from near Wynyard Quarter over to Northcote Point for road and active modes, and then supplements this with a tunnel via Birkenhead and Northcote town centres. This option is forecast to cost around $20 billion as it has four dollar signs in its cost assessment. The idea of serving Birkenhead and Northcote with rapid transit is new, compared to any previous work, and potentially has some merit. The Onewa Road corridor is a very busy public transport route and makes up quite a large part of future bus volumes from the North Shore to the city centre – so taking pressure off this will have some major benefits. Then Northcote, which is growing a lot through Kainga Ora redevelopment, is a bit of a ‘black hole’ in terms of being served by good public transport. It will be interesting to see what the public think about another bridge across the harbour that isn’t right next to the current one.
  • Option 4 is a bit of a merge of options 1 and 2 by the look of it. A smaller new bridge is built next to the current one, with a road tunnel also built. It’s not clear how many lanes would be in the road tunnel(s), as presumably unlike option 1 walking and cycling is provided on the new bridge, meaning the current clip-ons don’t need to be reallocated for active modes. It would be a worry if this option had more than 5 peak direction traffic lanes, as this is what resulted in previous work flooding the city centre with cars. This option also appears to cost around $20 billion.
  • Option 5 is almost identical to option 4, except the new bridge for rapid transit, walking and cycling comes off the end of Wynyard Quarter, rather than being tucked in next to the current bridge. It also is expected to cost around $20 billion.

As per the earlier table looking at bridges versus tunnels, the more detailed analysis of the options seems to play down cost compared to other factors.

While most of the work seems to have focused on the crossing part of the overall project, there appears to have been some thinking about what happens north of Takapuna for rapid transit.

Perhaps what stands out the most here is the absence of information about costs. Are the costs for this part of the project already included in the $15-25 billion option costs? Or are they even more than that? How does the cost of upgrading the busway to light-rail compare against an incredibly long tunnel through Glenfield? It’s hard for the public to provide feedback when so much information is missing.

Looking ahead, a timeframe slide suggests that the earliest construction could commence is around 2029, with each option having a 10-15 year total construction horizon.

Somewhat bizarrely, the Government has taken this and now said that they intend to begin construction in 2029 – bringing the project forward from what previous work suggested was needed. While it’s always good politics to say that you’re bringing a project forward and getting on with making it happen, this is a bit of a punch in the face for other projects that are clearly much more urgent – like proper rapid transit to the Northwest.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about today’s news. On the one hand, it’s good to see a proper analysis of different bridge and tunnel options for the first time in a very very long time, and a clear shift away from the “combined road and rail tunnel” that Waka Kotahi have been pushing for the past decade. It’s also good to see some new rapid transit options that serve new areas like Birkenhead and Northcote being thrown in the mix. But on the other hand, the extremely high costs of this project – especially when you consider it alongside the madness of $15-30 billion Auckland Light Rail – makes the whole thing seem extremely fanciful. Especially at a time when Auckland Council is considering cutting back on extremely basic services and the government needs to spend billions on rebuilding basic transport infrastructure following Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland floods.

It will be hard to take seriously the selection of any option other than the lowest cost option 2.

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  1. I think this has been on the cards for a while but waiting to announce closer to election. It has to be the reason they wanted underground LR, it makes much more sense if it is connecting to the North Shore. I think a single LR (or metro) line from Albany to Airport will be a vote winner compared to National’s plan to continue widening roads and adding buses.

    1. ” It has to be the reason they wanted underground LR, it makes much more sense if it is connecting to the North Shore. ”

      So they make a project that is too expensive even more a boondongle by linking it to another project that is too expensive.

      “Yeah, really, I am just proposing to use marble for my basement because otherwise my golden living room would be too heavy for the foundations”

    2. But what have they announced? Something that isn’t going to happen will now not happen years earlier than it wasn’t going to happen before. They are in the trade of trying to make themselves popular. This is a cheap way of doing that.

      1. “the trade of trying to make themselves popular. This is a cheap way of doing that.”

        a) I do want my politicians in the trade of making themselves popular AND doing things
        b) their public image of “promising but not delivering” is so strong by now that for many this will just be hot air, not popularity. And the rest will be split between “National can do it better” and “Well, this is rong in any case”.

  2. Genuinely thrilled for the Shore, who once again have managed to secure even more of the thing they already have while other parts of Auckland are told to make do with some painted lanes on the motorway and bus shelters without seats on some off-ramps.

    Could not be happier at this very sensible allocation of priority when it comes to transport projects for a region with limited funding and ability to consent and build anything in a sensible time-frame.

    1. I live on the Shore and I don’t want most of this.
      What I want is protected cycle lanes everywhere and a lane reallocated on the (existing) bridge for active modes.

      1. But the Shore is not just you, Scott. I know that “the Shore” likes to just stay as it is and not have anyone tell them that they need to change – but the Shore is a major road block (literally) in the battle to grow Auckland. The people on the Shore need to grow up and get out of the way and stop being a stranglehold on the rest of Auckland.

        1. The Shore isn’t just you either.

          The northwest got shafted a few years ago when they got a couple of extra motorway lanes instead of a busway. That damage is done and it is probably irreversible.

        2. I too live on the Shore and I struggle to see that the congestion here is worse than everyone else. What we do have is people who complain more loudly than everyone else. And we are the gateway to the holiday highway of course.

        3. You can’t just say the Shore needs to grow up when the West and Northwest already have and are getting nothing in return. This is just politcs 101, trying to buy usually blue Shore voters. It’s certainy not worth believing costs and timelines from Labour anymore.

          That being said, its really time we stopped looking at the dollars and just got on with building proper infrastructure across the whole City / Country, so glad to see something that involves Rapid Transit and Active Modes across our main harbour.

        4. You can’t do everything at once though, and we are always going to build a rapid transit line to Westgate before we build any second rapid transit line to the North Shore. Or at least we should.

          On the Shore itself the more pressing issues are the lack of any local bike lanes, and the lack of any cross-town bus services. Problem with that is, it doesn’t come with sexy ribbon cutting opportunities.

          I think the thing is not so much the North Shore, it is the Harbour Bridge which always attracts some outsized amount of attention.

    2. The North West should have a special ticket to the end game without having the crappy half arsed solutions first? Once the bus shoulder hack gets to capacity you can have a busway and once that gets to capacity you can have the promise of LR in 20 years. Just like everyone else.

      1. I will settle for AT updating the North Western Bus improvements page more than once every 12 months as a starting point, but the status quo seems oddly fitting.

  3. I want to be supportive of multi-modal transport options, but I’m a bit frustrated after hearing Minister Wood refer to the north-western bus improvements as ‘rapid transit’ multiple times during the press conference Q&A. A sprinkling of cash to get some quick-fix bus shelters (not really sheltering much) and a little bit more bus priority in the shoulder lanes does not equal actual rapid transit.

    1. Want to get more frustrated? The Northwest busway, which is years late for no reason and built to lower standard than all the other busways, is going to have its operations funded by CATR rather than the RLTP.

  4. It would probably be unpopular, but I wish they would provide a public transit only option. I bet it would be the cheapest and have the highest benefit to cost ratio.

    1. At the very least it needs to be built first. It’s quite possible additional lanes will be needed to replace the clip-ons at some point but this could be a later stage.

      1. I bet that is the strategy. Make it look like a project for everyone to win votes but actually just build LR and never get around to the road.

        1. Meh. It also sets up the opposite really well. National can saddle on top of this to build the road lanes first, arguing that LRT is still uncertain, and this way they can add cycling onto the bridge later. Result: We get more roads congestion, and the old bridge stays at 8 lanes, because they will find some reason to not be able to remove the lanes.

          This “covering all bases” stuff is the worst of all worlds, as all it does is earmark gobloads of money (reducing the ability to progress better projects) and emphasise that whatever we do, cars are still the most important things.

        2. But to keep everyone thinking we are going to build the roads keep funding millions of dollars worth of planning and consultation fees? Someone benefits eh

    2. Exactly

      Where is the option to not add road lanes, or just take a phased approach and add road later if increases in VKT requires it?

      Any project costing billions should be broken down into steps, and a new bridge that does light rail and active modes, we know from the ‘cycle bridge’ fiasco, will ‘only’ cost in the order of $1b; but provide much more than small percentage of the benefits of the $20b full fat solution.

      I would guess in terms of a people cross the harbour, a $2b PT/Active mode bridge would give 50% of the benefits for 10% of the price. So why wouldn’t you? Road tunnels with requirements for ventilation must be so much more expensive than a small diameter LR tunnel or narrow tracks on a bridge.

      I really hope this get broken down into a set of projects (active mode, light rail, road) so we can see the cost/benefit of each. My sense is that if Simeon Brown or somebody ever got hold of this project you would see everything but the road tunnel/bridge dropped to reduce cost overruns; a repeat of the original Auckland bridge build.

      Other bizzare thing to me is that they really like long (expensive) tunnels to run what would be full automated metro. Surely you keep the tunnels short and when you come to surface, do surface running light rail?

      Seems like around Northcote, Birkenhead, Esmond, Akoranga and Shakespeare Road in Milford/Takapuna etc, there are main arterials that could take LR running down the middle with only small amounts of street parking removed. Join onto a major PT interchange at Smales / Akoranga stations, run along the the shortest possible tunnel running from near the old toll stations in Sulfur Beach and popping up in Westhaven/Wynyard

      1. Option 4 without the road tunnel honestly seems like the most sensible. It would likely cost in the order of $5b.

        You could also branch lines off at Onewa and Esmonde to serve as a street level cross route collecting from Birkenhead and Takapuna with the intention of feeding into Akoranga so that the main line doesnt get too congested.

  5. Can we please bring back the $2b~ active modes and PT option?
    I no longer regularly catch the NX but it still seems to be the most reliable, frequent service in the city, and with previously detailed cheap common sense improvements around station lengthening, station circulation and bus lane extensions around the bridge and Customs St the lifetime of it doesn’t look like it might expire anytime soon?
    And I wonder what happened to moving trucks to use the WRR to quell any rumours of the Harbour Bridge’s demise?

      1. It is a lot of money. We slid from a AAA credit rating to AA+. Now we’re getting warnings on that even though the tax take has increased massively over the last 5 years. Our debt is too high and we’re probably already in recession. Our hospitals are overloaded, education system is failing far too many, still housing people in motels, violent crime is out of control, etc. There are many things that need money.
        The harbour bridge still doesn’t have travel demand management and isn’t end of life. It is very premature to go adding 3+ more traffic lanes. Besides this, our climate objectives rely on cutting auckland traffic by 33%, building additional lanes is bizzare. We can’t afford it and certainly don’t need it early.
        Its just a political distraction from Nash, and everything else going wrong.

        1. What are you talking about? NZ’s credit rating from S&P was upgraded from AA to AA+ same with Fitch.
          Moody’s has been stable Aaa since 2009.

    1. Hey, you got loads of new motorways over the last decade. Let somebody else get extra lanes for congestion first, will you?

    1. Isn’t that AT’s usual solution to active modes over the harbour, instead of reallocating a lane on the bridge?

      1. AT’s solution is to do nothing. If they had a donkey carts-supporting goal, their delivery of donkey cart tracks would be rolled into “Connected Communities” to die a slow death like their cycling and PT work.

      2. How many cyclists will ACTUALLY use a dedicated cycle lane across the harbour bridge?? If there is such a demand for this “solution why doesn’t someone buy a shuttle bus and a trailer, then offer this service to cyclists??

        1. Yes, lets combine the downsides of cycling with the downsides of buses into one package, and then the results as proof that nobody will use bikes. Even better, promise to use some sort of shuttle service for bikes, but not even provide that, and use that as an example for why nobody uses bikes. Win-win for those who don’t want to see bikes anyway!

          Instead of doing what every other serious country does (allow both buses and bikes good facilities on key links) and reap the benefits.

        2. Yes, because cyclists don’t want to queue up, wait, pay for and sit idle in a shuttle to cross the harbour. Ferries have some and more attractive option to do similar, but see those are even maxing out sometimes.

        3. Spoken like someone who does not regularly ride a bike or knows how cycle commuting works.

        4. You have a point, buses are probably the more inclusive option, so bus lanes should be the higher priority.

          I was quicker on my bike between Queen Street and Avondale than the bus, because buses had to queue.

      1. I think the Greens policy is that unless we stop making it all about cars, we better all learn to swim. But it seems that the floods are already too far in the past again. Oh well, see you next year.

  6. A tunnel to Birkenhead? Auckland Council publishes very detailed contour lines. It will be a serious climb from below sea level to anywhere reasonably high under Birkenhead. Mokoia Road sits at around 90 metres above sea level.

    Anyway, one question is: are we willing to forego 3 general car lanes on the Harbour Bridge if it saves us whatever pile of money this costs?

    1. Yes, wasn’t there some reduction in VKT target?

      Toll heavy freight vehicles going over the bridge instead of WRR, take a lane each way for bus priority and a single protected clip-on lane for active modes.

      Partly self-funding, vast improvement in bus flow and active modes options, VKT drops in response to congestion combined with better alternatives.

      Investment can fill out bus priority on the shore and head west to avoid the 16 & 18 choking on that freight…

      1. light vehicle VKT reduction program just got rescoped to non EV’s only. We’re going to need more lanes once all the cheap and awesome small EV’s flow in from China.

    2. “Anyway, one question is: are we willing to forego 3 general car lanes on the Harbour Bridge if it saves us whatever pile of money this costs?”

      Hahahaaa. I am not even sure they will keep to their word and remove lanes on the Harbour Bridge for walking and cycling even IF they build a new road tunnel. They will always have an excuse why they need more road space. Remember how they sold us Waterview tunnel because that would free up space on Isthmus arterials to make they nice and more walkable and cycleable and alow us to add bus lanes, because all that traffic would now go via the Waterview tunnel?

      What, you don’t remember it? Probably because outside of the traffic modellers for NZTA claiming such benefits it in front of the hearings panel, nobody was ever planning to do road diets.

      1. “because all that traffic would now go via the Waterview tunnel?”
        That tunnel has removed most of the cross-town traffic off of Carrington Road, Richardson Road, Stoddard Road and Hillsborough Road

        1. Which is why these roads are now free-flowing, and have gotten bus lanes and improved cycle facilities.

          No, wait, none of them do!

          And traffic flows are increasing again.

  7. Would love to see an option where they move the navy weapons dump at kauri point, shut down the sugar refinery and develop them for housing with rapid transit connections and get on and build another bridge at a much lower elevation.

    1. Agreed its worth a look…I’m sure it’s at least as worthwhile an option as Mokoia via Birkenhead.
      A causeway across Meola Reef (connecting Waterview with Glenfield) would unlock significant development potential and provide resilience.

      The options need to think beyond connecting existing centres and instead enable new centres..that’s where the ROI is.

      My comment below (relocate the naval base) would include the (ridiculously antiquated) ammo dump which I forgot to mention as a spin off benefit of the Grafton to Devonport tunnel.

    2. YES.
      The only reason the old bridge was built so high was to provide access to a new port at Pollen Island that was cancelled years ago. Then ships got larger so it could never work anyway.

      A lower bridge that people could fish from would be walkable, cycleable for all abilities, and would be suitable for any type of rail unit that might need to use it. The navy can easily pickup a few small shells in a little boat, Chelsea is an aberration. A few yachts would have to find another piece of the public harbour to privatise.

      1. Hahaha – a few sailors should suffer for a few cyclists We should go with the first option and get on and build it. If we can’t afford it, we can sell our UN vote to China and have them build it.

        1. A big, 15m sailing yacht would have a mast less than 20m high.

          The Harbour Bridge has more than twice that clearance at high water.

          I doubt many day-sailors would be inconvenienced by a rail capable bridge, but maybe park your superyacht at Westhaven.

    3. There really is a fixation with Takapuna, isn’t there. Every option looks like the scope provided was you had to have LR go via, or end up at, Taka. Option 3 is interesting….until it takes a tortuous route just to get to Takapuna. Why? How many people would make that round trip to get into the CBD?

      Takapuna is a stones throw from the bridge and bus priority on both sides of the harbour would have you at Britomart in about 12mins.

      I would go with Option 2 but forget about Takapuna – it should head straight to Smales Farm (if not Constellation) and then can creep north in stages. The new bridge can just be for buses, LR and the active modes. Congestion approaching/leaving current bridge should improve or not get worse with the other options now available.

      1. Yes it looks like the options were drawn by someone who lives in Takapuna. It is the Panmure of the North Shore- somewhere that once mattered. Why on earth would you spend good money on light rail to direct into into a dead end like that?

  8. Option 1 would be much shorter if it started at Grafton Gully.

    – Relocate or consolidate the Port
    – Relocate Devonport Naval base (why is a strategic military target still in the middle of Auckland?!)
    – Upzone large tracts of non-heritage housing (including ex naval housing) through Bayswater/Hauraki/Etc.

    Weigh all that up and it starts looking really attractive and actually solves a few (big) issues all at once.

    I think that putting a new crossing right next to the old crossing is providing minimal spin-off development/ROI benefits.

    1. “Relocate Devonport Naval base (why is a strategic military target still in the middle of Auckland?!)”
      Probably because the Admiral lives in Bayswater or something like that, rather than for the convenience of enemies coming in to invade the country.

      1. Moving the Base outside Auckland will have a serious negative impact on recruitment and retention. It isn’t just the Admiral who would rather be in Auckland than Whangarei.

      2. Why is a strategic military target still in the middle of Auckland?!

        Because it isn’t a strategic target. It’s a tiny naval base of a tiny country.

    2. “why is a strategic military target still in the middle of Auckland?!”

      It was located In Devonport to provide jobs to people who live on the North Shore

      1. Considering the navy dock (google Calliope Dock) has been at Devonport since 1888, when there was barely anyone living on the North Shore at all, this is clearly not correct.

        1. Because inertia, and as someone else says, because people like to actually live in a city if they work at the navy?

          I was making a point why it is in the Shore in the first place.

          Why it is still there today: See points above.

    3. “why is a strategic military target still in the middle of Auckland?”

      You could say the same about Whenuapai Airbase.

  9. I think Option one is the best but with a delayed start to the road expansion tunnel so that is only done if and when it is needed. I know WK say you couldn’t have walking and cycling on the bridge before expanding roading capacity but we also know that is untrue.

  10. It seems like the obvious option is a cheap bridge for a system which is increasingly looking more like light metro a la Skytrain or DLR in London. There really needs to be more clarity on this. It’s still not obvious to me if we are building an urban tram network to complement the true RTN of heavy rail, or a secondary RTN in itself (i.e. light metro). Light rail is just getting chucked all over the place in Auckland plans now and the original short tram lines serving the southern isthmus are ancient history. If we’re going to build light metro, and I think this is a good idea, we need to be clear about that and think about the best way to do it.

    Serving the glenfield area seems like a good plan. I’ve always felt if we were going to do heavy or light rail up the shore, it’d be better to complement the busway rather than replace it. It seems like a better idea in terms of minimizing disruption, maximizing capacity, and not fixing what isn’t broken. Capacity upgrades on the Northern Busway seem like such an obvious win, there’s obviously heaps of demand just waiting to be induced, with all the attendant benefits. Takapuna though is a bit of a red herring – probably better to just leave them with the ferries.

    I am also curious what exactly the objective is when it comes to a second road crossing. Shoving lots more people across the harbour into the CBD in cars is not particularly helpful when the network on the isthmus side clearly won’t support this, not to mention its huge cost which goes directly against the stated goals of basically every agency invested into Auckland’s transport network. The only objective can be to increase the number of people we are moving across the harbour in cars without affecting congestion, which doesn’t really strike me as beneficial to anyone at this point – not new drivers who won’t have room to park in the CBD, not drivers on the isthmus side who will have to contend with extra pressure on SH1 and the CMJ, and not North Shore drivers who will still be waiting in the same amount of congestion (except perhaps in a tunnel this time). The current bridge works fine the majority of the time, we won’t solve congestion issues with a new crossing, and if you want to move more people across the harbour, a transit crossing is what you’re looking at at this point. So what gives? If we’re building a new bridge for transit anyway, just put the walking and cycling on that, you don’t even need to liberate a lane (you could save yourself a bit of cash and just do that, but I recognize it’d be more difficult politically).

    1. “The only objective can be to increase the number of people we are moving across the harbour in cars without affecting congestion, which doesn’t really strike me as beneficial to anyone at this point”

      SOLUTION. Demand management ie a $10 harbour bridge toll each way during peak times.

      1. Yes. That would do a lot. But nobody has the stones to actually move on congestion charging.

        All we get in NZ is calls for more farebox recovery or nonsense like for people on bikes to pay registration fees.

        1. We should tax shoe sales to fund footpaths. If you keep a step counter for when you’re walking off public footpaths then you can claim those FUC (Footpath User Charges) back at tax returns time.

        2. “That is a great idea. The money collected could go to pay for more bike lanes.”

          Or even better, we could charge children who want to cross the road to pay for more safe crossings. After all, who would object to them deserving a safer environment?

          Or another one in line of that thinking: If you get mugged, or your area has a lot of muggings and ram raids, you pay an extra levy for extra police services you will be using.

          Yep, lets make people pay for their safety from cars. Sure. Keep victim blaming (unless you were joking – but far too many people think this is a great idea, when it is absolutely perverse).

        3. I have seen calculations that if bikes were charged a registration fee based on the criteria used for cars they would be libel for a fee of $2. So it is just not worth the effort. Let alone where would you draw the line. 5 year olds paying registration?

  11. Going off your pictures of the 5 options, and putting aside what you say in the comments, to me there is only one that really stands out: Option 1 with the light rail zipping over and up the isthmus. That’s the option that will have the most effect – and once it is built, not matter what the cost is – $20 or $25 – in 20 years time, who cares? Auckland needs options that go somewhere other than exactly the same route as they already have a route. The advantages of Options 1 and 3 are so much larger than just the “pushing people across a ditch” options of the others. If you want to push the move towards a Public Transport paradigm in Auckland, then you need the lines to go where the people live, not where the cars are driving. And in Option 1, putting the Light Rail underground means minimising the disruption to the people on the surface (unless they do cut and cover, in which case it maximises the disruption for the next decade). Option 2 is pointless to me – no advantages to the urban fabric, and while you’re building LR on the bridge, it probably takes out the Buslanes already there, so makes things twice as bad… Who cares about a measly $5 billion between friends? Seriously, push hard for Option 1 and the new Light Rail route.

    1. Who cares about $5b? Probably the other bits of Auckland who haven’t had a fully separated busway for a decade, since extended.

      Endlessly tipping money into a narrow sliver of a huge city region while others would be easily served by a less ‘all things to all men’ light rail proposal solely because people will get inconvenienced is a poor reason to concentrate huge and ever-increasing sums on certain bits of Auckland, when it could easily fund a more pragmatic region-wide approach that would generate region-wide benefits.

    2. Not sure I agree. Options 1 and 3 both take make for long expensive tunnels to only add another couple of suburbs to the rapid transit network and rejoin the busway at Akoranga.

      If they want to grow the coverage of the rapid transit network on the North Shore then something west of the motorway following the line of #3 in the rapid transit map is the better option.

    3. I think you misunderstand the Option 2 proposal. Its for a second independent bridge with all 4 modes on it. So it will be in addition to the existing harbor bridge.

  12. “We want an unclogged, connected, and futureproofed transport network so Aucklanders can get to work on time, and don’t need to wake up earlier just to get their kids to school – it’s vital that we have a harbour crossing that works for the city,” he said in a statement.

    This is Minister Woods from a press release. What planet is he on that plans should include kids crossing the harbour in either direction to go to school?

    1. Probably means wake up early drive them directly to school because no safe ways to get to school and then drive over the bridge to CBD office job. Door to door as much as possible because no one can walk or cycle anywhere.
      Or he just means the wealthy Shore kids driving to Kings

    2. Or indeed, what planet are we all on where addressing that need doesn’t start with immediate rollout of e-bike subsidies plus neighborhood bike networks that let kids get to and from school independently?

      1. sorry Jolisa, this topic is for multi billion dollar next decade projects. eBikes, micromobility, and cost effective today is totally out of scope.

        These bridge projects are for the kids, who will be in cars in the mid 2030’s when these in scope projects come out of the consulting phase… (/s)

    3. “and don’t need to wake up earlier just to get their kids to school”

      SOLUTION 1. Kids can walk to school.
      SOLUTION 2. Kerbside drop off tax outside all schools

    4. Ponsonby Intermediate had tons of kids coming from the shore while I was there. All the private schools, grammars and Christian schools have decent numbers as well – along with traffic the other direction towards the Westlakes etc. Believe it or not, people don’t only send their kids to the closest school.

  13. Labour Party coming up with another grandiose scheme while failing to deliver any of their earlier grandiose schemes. Must take some gall to stand there and announce stuff like this when everyone is waiting for the early fantastical schemes and announcements to materialise.

    Great times to be a transport engineer though – 10’s of millions of dollars in work right here.

    1. Transport engineers actually prefer to work on stuff that gets built. Like most everyone, they don’t like to work for the waste basket.

  14. I think the problem is that Labour (and no doubt WK) feel that the public won’t accept and solution that doesn’t provide additional road lanes. But Labour’s supporters also want Rail and Walking/Cycling.

    So you end up with something too expensive. But you announce it anyway to get the poll support and it will eventually be cancelled. Much like the Light Rail plan.

    The problem seems to be the politics. Everybody here can design a Light Rail or Light Metro System and then add on a Harbour crossing for half (or less) what Labour wants to spend. But Labour can’t see that plan getting enough support to be built so needs to gold plate it to satisfy everybody (and not be built).

    1. “But you announce it anyway to get the poll support and it will eventually be cancelled. Much like the Light Rail plan.”

      Or the cycle bridge. Or capital gains tax. Or building tens of thousands of social housing dwellings. Or reducing child poverty. Or…

      Wait, what has Labour actually achieved in their time in power? Apart from being pretty popular about their Covid policies, for a while?

      1. EV subsidy. $8700 back on a Tesla or BYD
        Thanks Labour. (and JAG)
        I can use the $8K on a nice eMTB.

  15. It won’t happen,
    None of these options make any sense anyway.
    1 the tunnel to devonport will add unnecessary time to the commute. And alongside the road tunnel this will be super expensive.
    2 parallel bridge doesn’t fix the problem that the gradient is too steep especially for trains. This will make an ugly duck bridge even more ugly.
    3 the tunnel to the west will be massively expensive, the station at Birkenhead will also be massively doop, a low bridge would work hea.
    4 why pay double when you can put it all in one.
    5 put the road on the rail bridge and we have winner, so why pay for 2 separate crossing’s.
    My guess is that labor will abandon the road part of this proposal.

      1. The light rail tram should be able to climb it, but what’s the point in spending all this money if we are going to build a low quality network, if we are paying for a fully grade seperated line then let’s put something that will provide a better quality of service on it.

        1. You seem to be under the misapprehension that a “tram” able to go steep gradients is some clunky old thing. In fact, modern LRT can climb steep gradients. It’s all about how many of the bogies are motorised and how strongly. Some can easily do 8%.

        2. I’m sure any passenger train could climb it, even our caf trains could, but just because it can do it should we make it do it for no good reason?
          There are much better alignments across the harbour that are more direct and support a longer span bridge with plenty of room for approaches.
          It’s still not clear what they mean by light rail, are we talking modern low floor trams or high floor metro?

  16. Come next year: National announces fast tracking of the road tunnel construction (“We can spend that roads money even faster than Labour!”), while the light rail and active modes bridge gets another extended study which eventually concludes (in memory of Labour’s alternative mode achievements).

    Why is this country so obsessed with the most money-wasting giant projects, but drops smaller-scale improvements the moment funding is tight?

    1. Airport RT + harbour connection = $15bn + $15bn = $30bn conservatively
      1.5m Auckland population = $20,000 per capita.

      Rest of NZ = $70bn
      Greater Wellington = $10.6bn
      Greater Christchurch = $9.8bn

      1. This is the sort of proportionality that has served NZ so poorly. So rural Taranaki gets millions to spend on the forgotten highway that benefits 100 motorists each day. Economic stupidity.

        1. I don’t know much about the forgotten highway, but if didn’t have a good business case and ‘there were other projects with better ones that ranked ahead of it they should have proceeded.

          However, one would still expect broadly proportional spend across the country. It clearly wont be exact as business cases should prioritise projects.

          Wellington and Chch have MRT projects lining up but nowhere near $10bn each.

          The difficulty in Auckland as a large city is that congestion begets congestion driving the need for more and more expensive projects.

          There are no congestion tolls to manage traffic demand which would allow a new cross harbour bridge for PT and active modes while deferring a new road bridge/tunnel for an indefinite period at a significant cost saving.

        2. Not sure if you’re getting projects confused but the sealing of the last remaining stretch of gravel on SH43 is a tiny project in the grand scheme of things.

          The big spend in Taranaki is the $280 million Mt Messenger bypass which is on SH3.

          I’m a bit biased as a Taranaki resident but this is the sort of road projects we should now be focusing on as it provides greater resilience on a key inter-regional road that is very prone to the increased storms we can expect with climate change.

  17. Once again – West and North-West Auckland get shafted, basically because both the government and the council don’t rely on votes from their region. I think you are right that this is just fanciful and is another vote-buying proposal. A National-led Government with Simeon Brown as Transport Minister will never put active modes ahead of cars so they only thing they would be prepared to support would be “more lanes”

  18. Good economic climate to seek support for the cheapest option. Also, best if the option chosen can be staged to support TERP first, and vehicle traffic growth left to last (if it’s ever needed). A key objective should be to get Silverdale-Redvale-Albany connected to faster non-car access and evaporate the traffic.
    Also, don’t put so much on the balance sheet that NW doesn’t get decent RTN – the current ‘express’ bus project is just a stop-gap for what ‘a previous govt’ were blind to, when widening the motorway.

  19. So if the government was working on these options, why was a second harbour crossing an item on the recent AT board meeting agenda?

    It seems we have two different organisations preparing for the same (arguably fantasy) project, duplicating time and cost?

  20. There has been no mention of a causeway across the harbour aligning with existing motorway access. We already have a successful causeway between Waterview and Te Atatu. For the harbour crossing we would need a drawbridge which could be operated to allow shipping to pass. Furthermore the causeway could be widened as demand increased and when the rail link is required.

    1. You just need to issue a notice to mariners that the harbour will be closed at that point in 5 years time to anything taller than a launch.

  21. Interesting that all the light rail options include Takapuna as a stop or destination. I guess that’s just for simplicity as we may want to just use the busway route or parallel to it.
    Option 3 would give a good upgrade for Highbury area to travel to city & Takapuna or connect the RTN in general. This would be a good option if they continued with just adding the active mode being an addition to the existing bridge.

  22. We should face the facts, we are never going to fix our traffic problems. This is the city we have. Right now with the development going on in the far suburbs, more apartment buildings, more town houses = more cars. We would have to start bulldozing some of these houses to get rid of the people and the cars they drive. Perhaps we start with those in flood plains. Building car-based suburbs with park and ride options is not going to solve our traffic problems. As for these options, they are all bad. But option 2 is the only option that is close to sane Perhaps the bridge should be a replacement for the existing. Leave the busway. Build a Light Metro line on the western side through Birkenhead and Glenfield to Albany conceivably this might have a separate light metro tunnel.

    1. From what I have seen it’s staying with the tram light rail, unfortunately.
      I just can not figure out why.

  23. Option two without the light rail why fix something that isn’t broken. Electric buses on the busway use the money saved to push the busway futhur north to Walkworth and eventually Wellsford to connect with the North Auckland line. Add more electric ferries to more places with greater frequency. Add redundancy for our ageing bridge without increasing car traffic too much while at the same time catering for cyclist, scooteres , walkers and tourists. And let face it no solution will be built unless it caters for cars in some way it’s just a political impossibility. Everyone must feel there is something in this them if any thing is going to happen.

  24. We’re actually getting pretty good at building tunnels. While all the publicity has been about the CRL and its cost over-runs, the Central Interceptor Tunnel has been quietly making its way from Mangere to Western Springs, without any fuss or dramas. Any tunnel under the harbour would be only a fraction of the length of that tunnel, and be built in the same sandstone, which makes building tunnels in Auckland such a breeze. If the timing is right the expertise would be able to switch seamlessly from Central Interceptor to the new under-harbour tunnel.

    1. Most of the cost comes from plant and actual work. The skills meanwhile are either standard construction skills (i.e. not related to central interceptor) plus a small cadre of highly specialised tunneling people who aren’t going to be (much) cheaper or more easy to get just because some of them are currently here in NZ for central interceptor or CRL. They move globally, and are in demand globally. You won’t save much money (pocket change), even if the tunnel was shovel ready to go tomorrow (also, where is the money going to come from to start it tomorrow, or even when the CRL finishes in 2025?)

  25. What I can’t understand is there obsession with tunnels.
    Why not a line over Victoria Park and over Westhaven marina to the north shore, the bridge will be much longer than the current bridge this would make the gradient almost unnoticeable and still allow shipping under the bridge. And will be half the cost of the tunnel and 1000s who use it will have great views.
    I can see from these options that they are constrained by the LRT tunnel under Victoria Park.

  26. Another empty Labour backed initiative. I’ll wait till National gets in so that useful stuff actually gets done.

    1. There won’t be any useful stuff from national, just more roads that feed more cars into existing roads that are already clogged up.

  27. Is this skypath v3?

    Waka Kotahi cancelled the “walk it, wheel it” event allowing families to walk/ride the bridge due to Aucklands two cyclones.

    How many weather disasters between now and 2029 spades in the ground? Remediating climate change sounds expensive.

    Maybe the tunnels are for Aucklanders to shelter in, once we melt the poles. Bridges seem like a better choice thinking about it.

  28. These prices are absolute madness…unless they are literally including the cost of tunneling under the CBD (CRL2 if you will) for LR and tunneling on the Shore.
    The main push for this project being brought forward is resilience/clip-on end of life. In other words the AHB clip-ons are rapidly reaching the end of their lives for vehicle use (they might be ok for cycling etc). So they have to replace at least 4 vehicle traffic lanes within 10-20 years. Might as well add on another pair so we’re looking at a 6 lane bridge or tunnel.
    I don’t know why there isn’t an option to put all of it (road, rail, active) into a single big bridge from Wynyard to Northcote. Would save billions compared to these plans. Bridge similar to the Tsing Ma bridge in Hong Kong.
    I do like the idea of rail via Bayswater (that’s an area ripe for redevelopment bigger than Hobsonville), but also the Northcote rail option is interesting.

    All of this however ties in with the city LR plans which really as has been repeatedly pointed out as being the worst of both worlds needs to change to Light Metro for that kind of money.

    1. “So they have to replace at least 4 vehicle traffic lanes within 10-20 years”

      Even that is a fallacy. If we actually got serious on VKT reduction, PT and active modes, 4 lanes could well be sufficient. Keep the four centre lanes for cars, do the inner lanes of the clip-ons for buses, the outer lanes for walk / cycle. In the meantime, build a LRT link in the 2030s. Done, saved a couple dozen billions.

      The obsession with cars has been killing us and the planet, and we are doubling down, because “they will all be electric soon”. They won’t be so fast enough, and electric cars as the dominant transport mode still cause loads of problems.

    2. “rapidly reaching the end of their lives for vehicle use”

      No not really. Heavy vehicles yes. But there is no inherent need to run HPMVs on the clip ons. The inner lanes exist, as does the WRR. The loading difference is immense between a truck and a couple corollas.

      1. Talking to experts on it they say that while it is structurally find now after being reinforced etc, it’s reached the limits of that reinforcing.
        So yes with light loads it could remain in place for some time (but that means no buses). 4 lanes for general traffic and buses etc simply doesn’t cut it (even if the clip ons were converted to pedestrian/cycling and were wildly successful).
        Then there’s the resilience angle, with only 4 lanes it makes maintenance much harder and disruptive, any incidents go from being a slight holdup to being a blocking every motorway in Auckland very quickly etc.

        1. You’re absolutely lapping up the WK tag lines. They’re as keen as mustard to feather the career cap with a harbour bridge replacement.

          “Our programme of ongoing monitoring, maintenance, upgrades and load management means the bridge is able to operate indefinitely as a key strategic asset in the Auckland network.” – Waka Kotahi

          Also the Southbound clip-on is in better shape than the northbound one.

          Weight management will be required because of flexing of the steel from heavy vehicles. If I remember my mechanical engineering classes correctly, cracking from the flexing of steel is made exponentially quicker with weight / deflection. And as you decrease the weight the crack speed decreases exponentially. It is perfectly plausible that after they restrict the weight, the life of the clip ons for light traffic will be as long as they can be bothered to paint them.

          This is also why a simple bus bridge is the next logical step. Get the double deckers off the clip ons, and buy some real resilience no just in route, but also mode. But also, the weight of the double deckers is not nearly as damaging for the structure as heavy trucks. The pavement damage from the double deckers is much worse than trucks, but that’s because they have way fewer axles. The weight per length of the vehicle is less than loaded trucks.

          The resilience angle is included in the business cases. That’s one of the explicit things they figure out the value of solving. It doesn’t move the needle in this case because we already have the WRR. Any goods or services that need to flow / are high value will continue to flow in the event of a bridge outage.

  29. I find it ridiculous that the largely socialist element of this blog spend so many key strokes to slag off Labour. Do you somehow imagine that National would be better for you, or that the Greens will ever have more influence than they currently get from supporting Red?
    Woods must shake his head at Greater Auckland and wonder WTF you expect.
    Any Aucklander can see that we have multiple transport challenges and option 1, no matter it being the most expensive, is the best solution. Rather than complain, everyone should be pushing for a cross party support to get something done.

    1. I’m not sure how a $25 billion option that sends a rapid transit tunnel on the longest possible route to add a couple of suburbs only to then rejoin the busway route and a road tunnel that adds extra lanes that have nowhere to go is the best option? But feel free to have a go explaining it to me.

      I’m not socialist incidentally, I have a concern where the countries limited funds are being spent.

      1. You could only think Option 1 is the best solution if you live on the Devonport Peninsular.

        Would add little time savings over buses and ferries (the former with proper priority) in an area pushing back on any reasonable intensification. I thought it was a p*ss take, actually.

        1. Pushing back on “any reasonable intensification” or “”any intensification?”

    2. Anyone who starts with insults and then makes unsupported claims like

      “no matter it being the most expensive, is the best solution.”

      has no credibility at all.

      Apparently being “socialist” these days means “stating that there isn’t infinite money”. Proud socialist then. I like my society to be reality-based.

      1. Actually there’s little as socialist as how we fund transport now, is literally tax and spend, centrally directed, on 3 year plans. So socialist Stalin would instantly recognise it, right down to the organised and protected vested interest beneficiaries.

        So taking a critical look at this is really the reverse of socialism. But then you don’t really mean or understand socialism in any real sense, just using it as a kind random slur. So yeah, lols.

  30. Exactly. Labour have an actual majority mandate, but lack the spine to resist being swayed by the wind blowing from the polls.

    They don’t need cross-party anything, which is why watching the sad drama is so colossally disappointing.

    At least National and ACT are clear about what they want, and unembarrassed about pursuing it.

    1. “Exactly. Labour have an actual majority mandate, but lack the spine to resist being swayed by the wind blowing from the polls.”

      Labour also seems utterly incapable to deal with bureaucrats protecting their Status Quo. They had 6 years to clear house in places like MoT and NZTA, but we still have the same “roads first” fossils in charge, and waiting for National to up their motorway budgets again, while they stall every other improvement.

      So either Labour is inept, or complicit (because they actually *like* “roads first”).

  31. It’s official, stage one options have been announced for the North Shore rail plans! Though it’s still unclear what the full rail link would look like! For a long time now it is vital for the North Shore to have a rail line to meet population growth and get people chasing public transport for once and not into private vehicles! Once of the contributing factors to why residents in the Bay Area of the North Shore don’t want to change to PT, is the journey time, indirect route for work, terrain if walking to nearest station (especially if it’s summer). A rail line running through Bay Area of the North Shore would solve these problems! Along with it is the roading issue which as been issue for decades!

    Option 3 is the best option going forward for all residents who live along the Bay Area of the North Shore such as Long Bay, Torbay, Browns Bay, Rothesay Bay, Mairangi Bay, Campbells Bay, Castors Bay and Milford. Once upon a time, the bay areas of the North Shore had direct public transport to the city such as 839, 858, 875 and 879 every day of the week, during peak day and hours you had the ‘express buses’ running through the suburbs and running on the Northern Busway, without the need of transferring, now you have indirect buses during peak hours take you longer to get into the city or into Takapuna. Waiting at stations increases your travel time whereas direct route would bring relief to those stuck in the bay areas who want direct way of getting into the city by Public Transport!

    Option 3 brings opportunity to layout plans of a line running through the Bay Areas of the North Shore! Stage One of the plans shows the line going under Birkenhead, Northcote, Akoranga Station and Takapuna, but its unclear what the rest of the line would look like if was to go ahead. If you were to make an overall terminus of where the line would end up, well solution should be having a line constructed along the Bay Area of the North Shore and have it end at Long Bay. So the stations running all the way to Long Bay world be Milford, Castor Bay, Campbell’s Bay, Mairangi Bay, Murrays Bay, Rothesay Bay, Browns Bay, Waiake, Torbay and terminating at Long Bay and call it the ‘Bay line’. If your the Bay Area of the North Shore heavily sick and tired of transferring stations, PICK OPTION 3!

    There are a lot of benefits in bringing in a rail line into the Bay Area of the North Shore. It would indefinitely solve the Everyone on the North Shore’s Bay Area always having to end up taking a second bus to the city while people who live closer to the Northern Busway or places like Takapuna, Birkenhead, Beach Haven, Hillcrest and Glenfield have a ‘direct’ bus route to the city while us people along the bays don’t and find it unappealing to take the bus due to the long duration journey, which affects ability to have balanced life. Also sometimes not able to board for 30 mins at the stations like Constellation or Albany Station which can disrupt your work and outside of work life.

    Not only that, it would also solve our ferry development issues, with rail we wouldn’t need a ferry, be no longer in North Shore plans, in-which ferry has been long outstanding issue for long time now and doesn’t seem like the development of ferry terminals along the bays is going to happen, ever! A rail line running through the townships would be solutions to the ferry problem, you wouldn’t need to build ferry terminal no longer!

    With the road issue comes the proposed plans, for sometime now North Shore has long time needed a crossing, the options are building a bridge or tunnel, which one to go for? Tunnel all the way! Building a bridge would make the city landscape look uglier! No thanks! The flaws being set out is ‘no tunnel option’, worse part is another bridge would ruin the lovely vibrant Victoria Park landscape! We can do better! The solution is to build the a tunnel under Victoria Park all the way to the ‘current harbour bridge’.

    Building the 2 lane exit tunnel right at the North Shore end (Northern Way) of harbour bridge will be achievable, just needs proper design and engineering. What you do is build the Northern way under the bridge while Southern way (connecting to the City) won’t be need. Then there’s the obvious issue which is the sea water seeping through the tunnel, if you put a large tall 10 metre wall it will prevent the problem. Along with it, Cyclone Gabriele has caused the hills alongside SH1 to collapse and brings good opportunity to construct northern exit way of the second crossing, also good opportunity to redesign Sulphur Beach by extending it and moving the boat shed.

      1. Totally Agree Grant! We need to keep the busway untouched and not create a bottleneck for buses at stations. If the rail line was to follow along the busway, it would mean too many incoming buses coming to the station all at once, which doesn’t make sense. So bring the rail line to the Bay Area instead!

  32. To me the north shore crossing and north west problem are the same problem. I don’t agree that the crossing has to be near the city/takapuna.
    I think they should look at a green bridge from pt chev to chatswood area so the green western springs continues over the Harbour to a green park in chatswood somewhere. Kauri point as a park.
    This would be light rail, walking, cycling etc.
    Would be quite cool to sit and have a picnic in the park in the middle of the Harbour.

    From chatswood/ kauri point sending light rail through the western North shore to a second light rail/walking green bridge over to hobsonville and then greater north west area somewhere, maybe meeting heavy rail at kumeu?.

    -straighter from north west to city to go via shore than going via north western motorway
    – and solves Harbour crossing and north west in one project
    -far enough from current bridge to allow design differences
    -makes Traffic head in opposing directions instead of funneling into the same corridors. North shore people can go eastern side for busway or western side for light rail. North west people can go south for motorway/rail but north to catch light rail to city
    Cons- I’m sure the good people on this blog will fill out this part.

      1. Regarding the disappointment in options, its telling that we were not given the option of a PT-Active mode only . So clearly, nothing is happening without increasing car capacity.

        And I guess that’s the “con” for your option, at least as far as WK is concerned. But if we ditched the road option we could have a bridge next to the current one, as well as one further west as you propose, both for PT and active modes only. We could run buses on the western one to start with before looking at LRT/LM later on. For that route, I’d go straight up the West of the North Shore through Glenfield, before diverting towards a stop on an eventual busway stop at Greenhithe on the UHH. On the south side it would interchange with the NW Busway and continue on down SH20 towards Onehunga. All a dedicated busway, for now.

        Even if some extra car lanes are necessary (from a political perspective), that second bridge could have a couple (tolled). But the point us, we could get two new harbour crossings by ditching the expensive tunnels.

  33. I was disappointed with the options given. If I’d have to choose I’d probably choose Option 1, however Option 3 has by far the most beneficial LR route. Option 2 is completely pointless. I imagine it will be like extending exisitng bridge to the side and will be getting closed every time the wind blows. If you want cheapest go for it. If you want something that would be useful then not necessarily.

    In my opinion ideal solution would be (if they have to build another car crossing and it seems as they really want to) to build a HR/Car tunnel and remove cars completely from the bridge to make space for LR and active modes. I’m not a fan of such a long tunnel for LR. I think it should be on the existing bridge. What’s shocking is the lack of any Heavy Rail considerations which is in my opinion big mistake. If we’re thinking about a tunnel (and we should be thinking about a tunnel first and foremost) Heavy Rail is obvious first choice here.

    If we don’t want to spend money then we will never build anything. Auckland needs big projects like that for public transport and active modes because the city network is shockingly undeveloped comparing to similar cities around the world. Projects like another crossing and LR network has to be built sooner or later. In my opinion sooner is better. And will be cheaper in the long run.

    1. “If we’re thinking about a tunnel (and we should be thinking about a tunnel first and foremost) Heavy Rail is obvious first choice here.”

      Or Light Metro.

      1. yes, but light metro you’d have to build the whole network from scratch, while we already have heavy rail. Line can connect to Britomart and then for someone from the North it would open the whole city for them. Places they wouldn’t dare to go before using PT along the exisiting lines. Now you can theoretically do that using Northern Busway, but firstly you’re not arriving to Britomart station just nearby, secondly it’s slower as when the busway ends before going on the bridge you basically merge with general traffic, and thirdly and most importantly if you don’t live close to the NX station it’s hardly viable option with complete lack of frequent buses taking you there.

      2. but it would make a lot of sense if they’d choose to build light metro in the first place instead of some weird tunel version of a tram

        1. Why keep loading up the HR network? Build a complimentary one that intersects with HR and you won’t even know the difference. Besides – its cheaper.

        2. Building an entirely new system is only cheaper on this blog where imaginary figures are bandied about like they are real. If the 15 billion for the city to airport and the 25 billion are right here for the tunnel then we have 40 billion for your new system. It could also double to 80.
          Much cheaper to extend the existing rail system

        3. Whatever real or imaginary cost system we are living in, it’s sure going to be more expensive on it to extend a heavy rail system due to the heavy engineering required. Plus the central isthmus misses out on a proper RTN presumably.

  34. Why does this government continue to focus on big nee projects, when they haven’t given other Areas in Auckland the basics yet. The upcoming changes to the north western will only give us a little bit more dedicated bus lanes. The buses are still going to have to sit in traffic. The north shore has a dedicated bus lane! How about money is spent getting things right for other areas first! Kumeu is a cluster…westgate is getting worse….and still more houses going in! Oh and the joy of sitting on a bus in traffic on a motorway! This is plain politics and isn’t considering other areas that are also growing rapidly

  35. From The Conversation

    It’s worth reviewing the long and tumultuous history of second Auckland harbour crossing proposals. In the process, we might ask whether a sixth option might, in fact, be the best: apply congestion charging to the Auckland CBD, and give public transport, walking and cycling better access to the existing bridge.

    1. If each decision-maker was required to read
      – a summary of the IPCC report and
      – the evidence that traffic evaporates when road lanes are reallocated to other modes – and that emissions do not go up as a result

      then the only other barrier to delivery of your sixth option would be the strength of the road construction and freight lobby. Decision-makers have tools to overcome those problems, however, in the form of better democracy.

    2. “……we might ask whether a sixth option might, in fact, be the best: apply congestion charging to the Auckland CBD, and give public transport, walking and cycling better access to the existing bridge”

      Then we might actually get an idea of what is really needed/wanted.

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