Yesterday, not to be outdone by National’s mega roads plan, Labour announced an absurd $35-45 billion harbour crossing programme that doubles down on the transport planning mistakes of Auckland’s past.

Two new three lane road tunnels under the Waitemata Harbour, one going in each direction, and a separate light rail tunnel that will link to the existing Auckland Light Rail corridor is the proposed plan for a second Auckland harbour crossing, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Transport Minister David Parker announced today.

The twin road tunnels would not be contingent on the light rail tunnels, with phasing options for the road tunnels to be considered by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, including whether to build both tunnels at once or separately. In either case, additional busway, driving and cycling and walking capacity will be created at each stage.

Separately, a future light rail tunnel is proposed from the Wynyard Quarter, under the harbour east of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and on to six new stations on the North Shore. This too would be phased. Construction would not be expected to begin until after at least the first of the two road tunnels is completed.

Auckland’s history (including the construction of the original Harbour Bridge) is one of coming up with plans just like this – only for the public transport, walking and cycling options to be dropped later, leaving us with roads and driving as the only realistic option for most people.

And that’s almost certainly what will happen here too. When it comes to a harbour crossing, what you build first is all that matters. If things proceed as stated above, Waka Kotahi will build the additional road tunnels – and then they, or some future government, will say we can’t afford to build the light rail component, and will cancel it.

How did we get here, now?

Earlier this year, Waka Kotahi consulted on various options for a harbour crossing. The one that’s just been announced was by far the most expensive, would take the longest time to build, and also had the highest C02 emissions from construction. But it was favoured by Waka Kotahi, in part it seems because it was the biggest thing they could build.

Back to the announcement:

“This is a bold plan for Auckland’s future that delivers a modern transport network that will connect all parts of the city,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Reducing congestion requires improvements to both roading and public transport, giving the public choice.

“Under this proposal the network will become joined up, allowing Aucklanders to travel from the north to the south, east and west on public transport – freeing up room on the existing Harbour Bridge and in the new road tunnel for those who want to drive.

“A second harbour crossing is needed as soon as possible, and construction is planned to start by the end of this decade and why we are proposing a phased approach, ensuring additional capacity is achieved after each stage.

“The recent wind-related bridge closures of the Harbour Bridge, and the increasing frequency of flooding on the approaches north of the bridge, illustrate the city’s vulnerability to interruptions. These new tunnels future-proof the city’s transport network by reducing reliance on the Harbour Bridge while creating fast new options for getting in and out of the city.

“A project such as this must be delivered in stages, like the Waikato Expressway was, so that the cost and roll-out of each element can be managed carefully and responsibly. The Government has asked the New Zealand Transport Agency – Waka Kotahi to accelerate work on essential first steps towards realising a transport plan of this scale.

Opportunity cost

Let’s be clear, this is not a bold plan, nor will it “connect all parts of the city.”

If we really wanted a “bold plan for Auckland’s future”, for the projected cost of these tunnels and the one planned for the City Centre to Mangere line, you could build about 300km of surface-running light rail all over the region (or indeed the country).

To put that in perspective, Melbourne’s entire tram network – the longest in the world – is about 250km. For another comparison, combined with Auckland’s nearly 100km of heavy rail network, 300km of surface light rail would give Auckland a network about the same length as London’s 11 underground lines. That would be bold, deliver world class PT for Auckland, have significantly more capacity than this one line from Albany to the Airport ever could, and importantly, deliver us an entire network.

A breakdown of the costs shows the road crossing and SH1 improvements coming in at $13-16.5 billion with the new light rail line coming in at $21-27 billion.

  • Indicative cost of road tunnels: $12-15 billion
  • Indicative cost of SH1 improvements: $1.0-1.5 billion
  • Indicative cost of Northern Busway upgrades: $0.5 billion
  • Indicative cost of walking and cycling improvements: $0.5 billion
  • Indicative cost of light rail tunnel (CBD to North Shore): $8.5-11 billion
  • Indicative cost of light rail tunnel (North Shore to Albany): $12.5-16 billion
  • Indicative overall cost: $35-45 billion

There are currently around 300,000 people living on the North Shore and Hibiscus Coast and by 2048, Stats NZ predict it may grow to around 350,000. So the announced plan amounts to an investment of around $100,000-130,000 per person, or around $300k per household.

And what’s the promised outcome of this investment? Waka Kotahi claims it will result in a 275% increase in daily PT trips across the harbour by 2051 – yet also says it will result in only a 5% change in mode share from Takapuna and a 9% change in mode share from Albany.

What this suggests is almost all the growth in PT usage will come from new residents of the North Shore. Given some of the reaction to changes in the Unitary Plan and the government’s current housing rules, it will be interesting to see how existing residents react when the council has to go through and rezone those parts of the North Shore for 6-storey buildings.

Furthermore, while Waka Kotahi claims the plan will reduce daily car trips and thus VKT, that is artificial and based off their predicted increases in those numbers. So the actual number of people crossing the harbour by road will likely be higher than today, due to building the road crossing.

As previous analysis has shown, this will make congestion worse and undermine Auckland’s own goals of reducing emissions and reducing traffic in the city centre.

What’s the wider plan?

Take a look at what the route will look like when this new proposed light rail route is combined with the route for City Centre to Mangere. That’s one wiggly line about 47km in length, while a direct line would be about 32km. As National’s Chris Penk put it, “Go home, light rail. You’re drunk”.

Whither active modes?

Perhaps one of the most familiar and disappointing aspects of the proposal, and more evidence it’s not a serious proposition for our city in this century, is what’s offered for active modes.

Waka Kotahi says that once the road tunnels are built, only then can reallocation of the current bridge lanes be looked at. As well as dedicating two lanes to bus lanes, they say one of the clip-ons could then be used for walking and cycling (skating over the question of e-scooters and other micromobility options currently banned from the bridge).

Leaving aside the irony that Waka Kotahi has been fending off the idea of liberating a lane for walking and cycling by saying it’s “too dangerous”, it’s ridiculous they’re leaving the simple and most affordable low-carbon modes until last. Especially given that one of the listed benefits of the proposal is “6,400 people walking or cycling over each day.”

They even manage to complicate the simple option, by suggesting they’ll look at building an “elevated walkway” on the clip-on to keep pedestrians separate from those on bikes. Logically, access to this would involve stairs and ramps, as well as elevators – thus adding expense, travel time, and another potential point of vulnerability for the trips that should be the easiest and most straightforward.

Reactions so far

This entire plan would be comical, if it wasn’t so concerning. Initial reactions have been mixed at best.

Greens co-leader James Shaw says “Frankly, during the climate crisis, it’s a bit bonkers to be building more roads,” with transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter saying: “Two new three-lane urban motorway tunnels in a climate crisis is pouring fuel on the fire of an already overheating planet.”

National says it approves of the road tunnels and the timeline, but would ditch the light rail component – noting that six years in, Labour hasn’t progressed light rail on the ground.

Mayor Wayne Brown sounds like he’s not impressed by any of it:

“The proposals from both Labour and National to start it by 2029, and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on consultants in the meantime, are about politics, not transport.”

The mayor also says he is “looking forward to working on some better, faster and cheaper plans”. I wonder if those better, faster, cheaper plans revisit the ideas that have now been set aside, for example a new bridge for public transport and active modes.

Upper Harbour Local Board chair Anna Atkinson, while saying that a new crossing would be pivotal for those on the Shore, expresses concerns that this is a plan that will never happen:

“Most people that I’ve spoken to are really worried about the price, and they are worried that is so gold-plated that it would never happen, that’s the concern.

Atkinson was concerned cycleways would be left behind in the new harbour crossing plans.

“In this day and age, people want to walk and cycle, because it’s fitter, it’s freer, it’s cheaper and it’s much better for the climate.

“To say ‘we are going to wait until we have done these horrifically expensive road tunnels before that becomes an option’, I don’t think that’s good enough.”

As I told Morning Report this morning, the whole thing is farcical, from the size of the budget to the details and the staging of the plans. Auckland deserves better than this.

A NZ Herald graphic showing the proposed outcome after decades and billions of investment. (What’s stopping us from starting with the top part to see how it goes?)
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  1. What are we, eight years since AT first floated credible light rail plans in Auckland?
    All that has happened is the whole thing has become an enabling works project for what WK actually want to build, which is tunnels under the Harbour.

    This is a scandal. It’s beyond belief that any party would take this to Auckland as an election policy, let alone an alternative to the basic Light Rail network (not just a single line) they floated to get elected in the first place.

    We cannot dither endlessly on how to duplicate link after gold-plated link to a single part of the city while the rest of the region cries out for rapid transit whilst mired in congestion and emissions as people lose hours of productive and family time due to a lack of viable alternative.

    $40B over decades should fund an entire region’s worth of Light Rail and have enough left over in the kitty ($5b max) for a walking, cycling and light rail bridge to connect the Auckland side to the busway, which was designed with this in mind.

    I will not vote for this or any party that will enable it. At this rate I am running out of people to vote for.

    1. The fact that people say this, I simply say “Green Party”, and the reply comes back with “but they’re bonkers” (without further explanation), shows the political dead end this blog’s commentariat have ended up in

      1. The Greens, who will only work with Labour, and have so far been so silent as to be complicit on the state of Light Rail and the process that has gone on there? That Green Party? At this rate I’d be surprised if they don’t just come out and support this.


          The Green Party has called the plan bonkers.

          Co-leader James Shaw said the government seemed to have a tendency to choose the most expensive and over-engineered plans possible.

          “I don’t think that six lanes of traffic are going to solve Auckland’s congestion problem. Frankly, during a climate crisis it’s a bit bonkers to be building more roads and inducing more traffic and more car dependency.”

          Shaw said at the very least, the light rail tunnel should be built first to reduce congestion, and indicate what roading demand there is.

  2. Who has decided this is the best option? The government? Or the NZTA? Somebody needs to be transparent about this preference and why it stacks up better than the others presented. And what is the risk that this project won’t be downscaled like the Auckland Harbour Bridge was in the 1950s (I’d say very likely).

    1. Yes, Waka Kotahi have been very devious and don’t really support PT, and biking. On many occasions over several years they have not been transparent or honest. One of their biggest boondoggles or conspiracies was their hugely expensive $800 million biking bridge deliberately offered knowing that there would be howls of protests and cancelled soon after.
      There have been 100s of projects where they and AT deliberately obstruct biking and walking.

    2. I’m surprised that apparently the public has chosen the tunnelled options? I want a view from my light rail vehicle. I guess because their current plan for LRT was tunnelled it pretty much makes sense to, and that route is not really a surface one.
      In saying that, I think the idea of connecting across to Glenfield is quite good in itself though.

  3. Meanwhile, Simon Bridges seems to think it’s not expensive enough and that the motorway should be widened from Northcote to Albany at the same time.

    1. Well to be fair that does make sense. If you are going to add 6 lanes under the harbour, where are those cars going to go? Anyone driving home on the Northern, Western or Southern knows there is no spare capacity, so no doubt there will be an emergency motorway widening project started under urgency once the tunnels open and prove to be a parking lot for cars waiting to get onto the congested motorways.

    2. That’s what the $1-1.5B SH1 improvements part comes in. At the moment parts of the Northern motorway are only 2 lanes and WK have publicly stated that won’t change until another crossing is built.
      So I would expect that the entire motorway will gain an extra lane in each direction (apart from perhaps the widest parts). They’ll also then link SH1 to SH20 South->West.
      Remember of course that they plan on removing 4 lanes of Harbour Bridge to general traffic so overall the gains in general traffic lanes are just 1 in each direction.

  4. Yes definitely turning into Willy Wonka’s train set, for $40 billion you better get an everlasting gobstopper at the end of it.
    And they have left the gate wide open for any further transit component to be scrapped while keeping the road tunnels completely separate, so any future government will just build more roads while while leaving little to no options for rail.

  5. Auckland is one of the worlds most sprawling cities and it is very expensive to have services going to every one of our 1000 suburbs including three waters, power, waste removal, transport, roads and footpaths. The cost of having a bus going to the most distant point to pick up a handful of customers is high.
    Building more inner city apartments cuts emissions, the cost of living and improves the health of residents.

    1. The North Shore is not a distant corner. Nor is Massey, nor is Papakura. These are parts of Auckland, they’ve already been built. Your point is valid for new suburbs, but we can’t simply concentrate services on the areas that have lobbied for years to keep intensification out of their neighbourhoods and effectively reward them for it.

      1. But the sprawl continues.
        Karaka, Wellsford, Whitby, Brookby Ardmore, Clarks Beach, Beachlands, Kumeau…
        They all want more highways.

    2. How do you measure sprawl? We have a higher average population density than Stockholm, Milan, Sydney, Los Angeles, Helsinki, Calgary, Marseilles, Toulouse, Nice, New York, Melbourne, Antwerp, Portland, Adelaide, Brisbane….

      1. That is not correct.
        Auckland urban density: 2,400/km2 (6,100/sq mi)
        New York City density: 29,302.66/sq mi (11,313.81/km2)
        Stockholm: 5,200/km2 (13,000/sq mi)
        Marseille: 3,600/km2 (9,400/sq mi)
        Milan: 7,500/km2 (20,000/sq mi)
        (numbers from English wikipedia).

        However, it is worth noting that this is the “urban” density and I am not quite soure how far the “urban” area stretches.

      2. Try the demographia sprawl data instead. The include the entire area a city has sprawled to even if the area is outside the city’s administrative boundary.

        1. I think the reality is that Auckland was dubbed an extremely low density sprawling city when in fact it had benefited from the walkable beginnings and the bike- and tram-based pre-war years, as well as being constrained by its geography. It is simply not in the same class as Los Angeles by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a place where car dependence can be fixed through good public and active transport planning as long as we sprawl no longer.

          John D posted this map here not long ago.,-118.12363,-36.86164,174.76364,9,M,M
          It shows the difference between a city so vast it’ll take enormous funding to fix, and Auckland, which simply needs to focus on reallocating space and funding to enable choice.

        2. Auckland is at a higher latitude than Los Angeles, so if anything it makes LA look smaller in comparison on a mercator projection.

        3. Thanks, Roeland, and John.

          The Joshua one does seem to adjust for latitude like the truesize one. So the comparison for Auckland and Los Angeles seems to be:

        4. Australia on top of Greenland is a good test of the projection issue. They are cool tools though.

  6. Better faster cheaper plans would be putting T3 lanes and congestion charging on the existing bridge, and converting a lane for active modes.
    We’re supposed to be reducing traffic 20% by 2030 or something similar. We don’t need more lanes. Adding more lanes doesn’t reduce congestion as there are no additional lanes city side.
    On top of this the country can’t afford $45B on a project with a ~0.01BCR. It can’t be much better than this as we have an existing bridge that is adequate 99% of the time.
    Economically we’re already hurting, the national debt and interest payments have doubled in the last couple of years, and now we’re starting to suffer from brain drain

    1. “We don’t need more lanes. Adding more lanes doesn’t reduce congestion as there are no additional lanes city side.”

      Oh, but there will be. The inevitable increase in congestion will have National (and maybe Labour, as well) insisting its a “no brainer”.

      Just one more hit…..

  7. As a current user of the Northern Busway and likely weekend user of an active mode crossing, I personally would love them to hurry up and build the road tunnels so that the busway and active modes can be provided for on the existing bridge ASAP without this never-ending debate. I don’t understand why they haven’t focussed on that rather than the road building side, although perhaps that is telling of where the politicians mind is still at or maybe the media? Just get on with it. Why is it 6 years to start date? I would love if they reallocated space now, but failing that just hurry up and get the traffic under the water.

    1. If they introduced congestion pricing then we could definitely reallocate, we could now even with liberating a lane for active modes.

    2. Bring back the 750M walking and cylcing bridge, tack on the two lanes for the busway/future light rail. $1.5b all up. There, just saved the government $40b plus whatever they were going to spend on mode shifting to met the climate commissions reduced vkt targets.

      But do the north west first!

  8. An election Hail Mary. Good to see Labour hasn’t totally given up. Maybe some of them will still be around to form a future government one day.

    1. Facebook reminded me that we were all talking about the inevitable catastrophic defeat of Labour in August 2017. Do you remember who was PM at the end of that year?

      (No defence of this shitty proposal – just questioning how people can’t see beyond the latest poll)

      1. Are you suggesting that Labour will throw their leader under the bus sometime in the next 3 weeks and then form a coalition with Winston Peters? Seems unlikely. I voted for them in 2017 and 2023 but this time I won’t bother turning up. Labour needs time on the naughty chair so they can have a think about why they have so few competent ministers and why they select such numpties.

      2. I can think of one election where there was a complete change in voter intentions in the last two months (2017), and around eight that didn’t. A black swan event is very unlikely.

        In saying that this election is as close as 2005, it definitely isn’t over yet. Luxon is doing his best to keep Labour in the game, Winston is lurking as a disruptor on the right and neither main party has announced their tax policies yet.

        1. Was 2005 the one after Helen Clark panicked over the foreshore and seabed? That was her biggest mistake. I definitely voted National in 2008 after her government wanted to reduce the flow of water in my shower. If Uncle Fester wasn’t the leader I would probably vote National again this time. Mrs mfwic says if I don’t vote I can’t complain but I don’t think that is true. I will be able to complain even more if I didn’t vote for however wins.

  9. Where the money comes from?

    For a small and poor country like NZ whose GDP almost at the end of the row and a population less than other country’s city, how and where the money? For Auckland alone, the population just below 2 million, who to pay the bill?

    Why NZ people are so stupid and fool, O I forgot they are greedy and hang up their heads for money to fly from the heaven.

    1. The money isn’t an issue as it won’t get built. The problem is all the other cheaper, better options that get overlooked.

      1. Right, Agree. But I wish to point out that those Authorities don’t let this as a chance to increase TAX!

        Many NZer here at NZ already pooor enough to struggle living cost every day.

        1. We are a sovereign currency issuing nation so there is no funding problem. Finding the workers and materials to do the work on time could be an issue though.

      2. Even the money going on planning it is an issue…. As well as the negative impact on any realistic planning people are trying to do.

  10. Labour’s gone. Two terms delivered SFA and spent a shit tonne of cash. Now they propose more of the same!? National is just roads, with a side serving of roads, with the cherry on top being another bloody road.

    What a travesty for public transport in this country. We are poorly served by our politicians in New Zealand.

    1. Yes, up until this announcement I thought they had a chance but Hipkins has successfully blown it with this plan. To a certain extent Michael Wood had been hijacked by the transport lobbyists but this is even worse than anything they dreamed up.

      Ah well 6 years of David Seymour calling the shots coming up.

  11. Unbelievable. Abysmal options. Sick of the squabbling over hypotheticals and the complete lack of support for rail and active modes from the two biggest parties. It’s a political football and it sucks.

    1. Check out Vienna with the same population as Auckland. They have 900 million trips by public transport every year, and only 27% of trips by car.

      1. Yes indeed. And how did they get there? By making it a no-brainer to use. 365 euro annual pass. No reason we couldn’t do the same with a $365 annual pass. Implementing it would cost a fraction of the recently ended 25c fuel tax cut. Annual trips would skyrocket. All AT would have to do is focus on procuring more buses, trains, and ferries.

        1. And create separated lanes and corridors for the transit services so they are reliable and fast. Sounds like infrastructure, and real leadership..

        2. It would be interesting to see how much the introduction of a $700 annual pass would cost compared with the current free transport for “under 25.” And the comparative increase in ridership.
          Note that the “under 25” hop card seems to be open slather. It seems that to get the discount all that you have to do is go onto the AT site and make up your date of birth.

      2. Vienna is tiny geographically and whilst you should pay for public transport there, there are no ticketing gates or ticket collectors meaning many users never pay, plus it’s a major tourist city with centuries of history.

        The two cities are about as chalk and cheese as you can get.

  12. This really comes down to the lifespan of the clip-ons. If they really are indefinite then we should get on with building a PT and walking bridge.

    1. The lifespan of the clip-ons is rated by Waka Kotahi as “indefinite” however the loading during its indefinite life is not specified. WK says the weight limit will be reduced progressively over the coming decades. The point may be reached this century that the clip-ons can only take busses and active transport and perhaps eventually active transport only.

      Unfortunately the clip-ons also have low earthquake resilience so cannot be relied upon to provide long term for vehicles, PT or active transport. According to WK a decent earthquake would make the clip-ons permanently unusable for any transport purpose.

  13. Here’s a concept borrowed from our PT policy – Light Roads.

    Instead of full fat road tunnels, you could make smaller tunnels that just take light vehicles like cars and vans. You’d only need 2 lanes each way.

    Huge savings as the diameter of the tunnel could probably be cut in half.

    Heavy vehicles get detoured around the Upper Harbour, avoiding the worry of dangerous or oversize loads and better utilizing existing assets.

    Light roads might be used for future expansions, with elevated sections on major highways avoiding expensive land-takes and freeing the heavy roads for freight.

    Of course, all of this is missing the fact that flying cars will render roads obsolete next year.

      1. That’s why the Villa Belt won’t allow intensification, got to keep the skyways clear for my flying car-pig.

  14. We,Aucklanders,New Zealanders, will end up like the castle owners in England,with massive assets,that we cannot afford to maintain. Unbelievably l am warming to Wayne Brown,his comments about stadiums ,show money being spent on having too many assets,for little benefit. Lumping more assets? (roads),on the ratepayer/taxpayer,with no monetary/societal gains is pork barrel politics at its best.

    1. As an economist said on tv last night, it will have a phenomenal cost in terms of NZ having to buy carbon credits, and the longer we take to embrace public transport for most of our trips the more that cost will rise. I talk with my kids to be careful with their current decisions because they have to factor that they will become poorer.

      1. Talking with the kids is the problem. I know teachers who say they can’t look their students in the eye anymore.

  15. They did a vox pop down the Wynard Quarter on TVNZ news about this, and some dude said “wahts the point of six extra lanes when there is nowhere to park?” and I thought, it is pretty sad day when some scruffy bloke taking a stroll has more common sense than AT. Waka Kotahi and the government.

  16. My other comment on this is how come we keep shovelling money at the North Shore? they’ve already got the best transport links in Auckland. Two motorways, a dedicated busway, a harbour bridge, ferries, the upcoming penlink. How much more do they want? Meanwhile, there isn’t even a busway on the Northwestern, getting to Kumeu is a complete nightmare, Dannemora and Flatbush are utterly car dependent hellholes, Howick is a giant PT hole, cycleway construction moves at the same rate as an offensive on the western front and costs a lot more, and you still can’t cycle or walk across the harbour bridge.

    1. Sanctuary, I live in Takapuna and I have to agree with you. As someone said earlier, toll the Harbour Bridge to reduce congestion, and then work from there.

      1. It remains the most daft aspect of these plans. Just what spell has Takapuna got over the planners?

        Build 24/7 buslanes from Takapuna central to the current busway, which is already in spitting distance. You’d be at Aotea in less than 10mins. Billions saved, right there.

        1. KLK
          You are absolutely right. Takapuna could have the best damn public transport in Auckland, at no extra cost, by running the 82 from Milford down Esmonde Rd only as far as Akoranga. My calculations show that you could double the frequency; and that another bus could run up the other side of Takapuna also as far as Akoranga. The whole of Takapuna with great frequency at no extra cost, with great frequency between Takapuna and Milford. Turn up and go!

    2. “Two motorways, a dedicated busway, a harbour bridge, ferries, the upcoming penlink. How much more do they want?”
      One of the lanes on the harbour bridge for walking and cycling would cover it!

    3. > cycleway construction moves at the same rate as an offensive on the western front

      That’s actually a fairly accurate, if optimistic, description.

      Battle of the Somme, 1916: 8 km

      Auckland cycleway construction, 2022: 5 km

    4. And the north shore only has 300k population when you include all the way up to Orewa.

      The North shore and the Kapiti coast seem to be the two darling child areas of transport spending in New Zealand. Receiving vastly outsized attention and spend which they viciously defend because they “need” it as if the rest of the country doesn’t have massive transport issues as well.

      1. Both major parties are thinking about how the swing voting went last time.
        I’m in East Coast Bays electorate, the truest of bluest. Stranglehold by McCully for a couple of decades then gifted to Erica. She has a massive majority and that won’t change. But the overall party vote went comfortably to Labour last time.

    1. Yeah, once they have built it, it will be nice to use. That would be about 2050 if they start on time. However, it will take money away from so many other projects that would also be nice to use and are far more important!

      I really don’t understand what the extra lanes on the bridge would achieve. People should be encouraged to take PT into the CBD if they don’t absolutely have to drive (e.g. tradies and goods deliveries). And if Labour had ever tried to drive from the North Shore to south Auckland or beyond in rush hour, they would have noticed that SH1 is clogged from Spaghetti Junction to Manurewa anyway. So what good would it do to add more lanes coming into that clusterf*?

    2. Well they Sydney opera house only took 15 years and only cost $100m. So if that was called a boondoggle, we’ll need to invent a new work for this.

  17. Regardless of government, nothing is easy to have delivered in New Zealand. Its a joke. I do hope that when the CRL finally opens that people get a taste of what could actually be and covert more of these that are against spending on public transport infrastructure.

    1. I don’t think the issue is willingness to spend on public transport.

      It’s the current crop of proposals for projects are just abysmal value. A light rail line costing more than london’s crossrail. Which was touted as “the largest public transport project in europe”. Like we would see close to as much use and value on a LRT line, as the premier ultra high quality, heavy rail metro line in a dense city more populous than the entirety of New Zealand.

  18. Whenever I look at that red LRT line, I just…giggle.

    Its like they asked a kid with a crayon to link half a dozen suburbs and got them to draw on a map. And as for the road tunnels. And the fact active modes on the bridge now is too dangerous, but safety dramatically improves with a corresponding tunnel…

    If this was a TV show, Labour would have just “jumped the shark”…

  19. What a lot of whinging today.
    Does this project improve public transport links around Auckland? Well yes it does. The Northern Busway will run more efficiently and light rail will connect Takapuna Belmont and Glenfield (huge catchment areas) to the city. Is this blog against better public transport connections???
    Does this project provide active modes linking the Northshore and the city? Well again, yes it does.
    Freeing up 2 whole lanes on the bride for cycling and walking that without this project will never happen. Is this blog now against Skypath???
    In order to deliver the very things you want and asked for, the Govt will dig two road tunnels – so what do you care? You are also getting what you want. It will be paid for from tolls and as you all hate driving, you wont pay a cent towards this. You can even enjoy cycling over a bridge that the Boomers paid for.
    The best part of this announcement is that Labour have designed it so National cannot say they would not do the same. The only way this wont get built now is if the Green Party gets elected, and that will never happen as NZ do not want a bunch of socialists running the country.

    1. “Does this project improve public transport links around Auckland?”

      No. Only a small part of it, as others have noted.

      1. “No. Only a small part of it, as other have noted”
        Couldn’t the same be said of walking and cycling? In which case, fxxk it, lets never have active modes on the bridge because it only connects a small part of Auckland!

        1. I’m pretty sure we can do active modes on the bridge for a lot less than $35 – 45 billion.

    2. It will be paid for from tolls and as you all hate driving, you wont pay a cent towards this

      I have a bridge to sell you if you think this is the case.

      There are 180,000 crossings (all modes) today.

      The cost of the scheme annualised over 100 years, you would need each toll / train ticket to cost $10 and for there to be 740,000 crossings per day.

      Are you proposing to triple the population of the north shore in the next decade or so and have them all commute and pay a massive amount for each train trip to pay for the road tunnels? Or will the road tunnel toll be something closer to $50 each way?

      This is the crux of the issue. This project presents abysmal value (along with most other proposed large transport projects in NZ). Nobody except a central government would ever build this.

      It is mathematically impossible for this proposal to be built without a massive net transfer of wealth from the general taxpayer to the users of this project.

      1. The tolls probably will be $10 with contributions from the Auckland fuel surcharge as well.
        If we constantly worried about how things will be paid for, nothing would ever be built. The reason the bridge we have now is barely adequate is because of penny pinching in the 1950’s. If the Government of the time had vision, they would have built an 8 lane bridge that included rail and footpaths. Do you want to keep repeating the same mistake?

        1. Questioning a single project that would suck up 10 years worth of the entire counties’ Land Transport Fund is definitely not penny pinching.

          A $10 toll to cross the Harbour would result in a lot of people heading around via the Upper Habour Bridge instead.

        2. Driving the long way round to avoid a toll is stupid. It’s saying you value your time at less than $10 an hour. Maybe only the school teachers can afford this detour.

        3. The Auckland regional fuel tax brings in on the order of 150 million a year.

          The annualised cost of this proposal (rock bottom interest costs plus paying back a portion of the original value) over 100 years is 2.7 billion a year.

          The regional fuel tax is a only legislated to last 10 years and other political parties have pledged to get rid of it. It is supposed to bring in 1.5 billion over that time, just over half a year of the smallest annual cost of this scheme.

          So you reckon $10 a trip is fine for cars, would that be fine for PT tickets too? People are going to spend $30 to take a train to the city for work or study? $150 a week. And you hand wave away the 4 fold increase in trips needed at those prices in order to fund this?

          There is a long form post on this very blog explaining how the original bridge was a reasonable compromise, if anything they spent too much. There needs to be analysis done as to what you would not fund in order to fund big projects. Opportunity costs.:

          You don’t get to pretend that spending all your money (plus some) on a single project has no impact on other projects. Do we prevent every road upgrade in the entire rest of the country in order to fund one or two of these projects in Auckland? no, that’s absurd.

          I want us to stop repeating the same mistake of funding projects that are net economic losers, when we have plenty of infra projects to fund that will actually return more value to people than they cost over 40 years. This is the view of the infrastructure commission and anyone not interested in pork barrelling votes with pie in the sky plans.

          Jezza – quite right. 10 years worth of the entire counties’ Land Transport Fund, on 300k north shore residents. make it make sense

        4. The road tolls on Italy’s autostrada are a good illustration of how to fund more roads. More roads are built when the money collected from tolls allow it. The consequence of significant tolls, and great train systems, is that on some routes over 50% of travel is by train.

        5. Henry F, you can’t just pluck figures out of the air. There is no way that $10 will pay for the interest cost and the profit for the PPP. Now if you said $10 each way you might be close. I understand that the original bridge had tolls in both directions. (I have assumed traffic flow of $150k per day, that is reduced by the cost of tolls.)

        6. But you were happy to spend 1b on a bike bridge that only 300K North Shore residents??? Short memories indeed!

          10 cents was the toll back in 1970 and that was each way. That would be about $8.00 in today’s money.

          According to the Skypath proposal, cyclists were ready to pay a toll. If you are now saying they would not have, you would have been forcing the Auckland rate payers to meet a significant funding gap in the PPP.

          So financing this project would come from tolls on vehicles, walkers and cyclists, fares from light rail passengers, the Auckland Fuel surcharge and general taxation.

          If the people of NZ do not like the project, there should be an enormous party vote swing to the Greens. Then Democracy will have its say and the project will be dead. If however the next Government is formed by Labour or National, then I guess we can assume the people of NZ are happy with the plans and looking forward to its completion.

        7. “But you were happy to spend 1b on a bike bridge that only 300K North Shore residents??? ”

          No. Absolutely not. The majority of people here were never for the bridge, which was nothing more than a subsidy for drivers, to not liberate a lane on the current bridge.

          That was very, very clear from the majority of posts.

        8. But only last week Heidi was insisting this blog supported the Northern Pathway – you peps need to stick to one narrative and not keep flipflopping to please each argument.

          Heidi says:
          July 23, 2023 at 7:38 pm
          In what was is this not supportive of the Northern Pathway?:

        9. Henry – where are you getting $10 an hour from?

          In the most extreme case Northcote to Ponsonby it’s 33 minutes longer to go via the Western Ring route. I’d probably pay $10 to avoid that.

          Someone travelling from the Wairau Valley to Penrose would take an extra 8 minutes, I don’t think many would pay an extra $10 for that.

      2. The great opportunity here is to introduce a meaningful road pricing scheme to attempt to build a fund to pay for this, this will of course immediately drop driving demand by at least 20%, more than entirely solving any traffic problems, while also accelerating the need to improve all alternatives to driving… perfect.

        Optimise the busway, convert a single lane to walk/bike (now that the agency are here admitting their previous nonsense about the bridge being too steep and scary for humans not in tin boxes is bs), done for decades.

        Terribly upsetting for the bafflingly powerful (it seems) tunnelling lobby.

        1. Surely we do the road pricing first in the form of a CBD congestion charge at peak.

          Then we will what is actually needed.

  20. Honestly can’t believe Wayne Brown is the voice of reason in this case. God labour has been poor with its PT projects, overblown unrealistic disasters.

    1. Chloe has been organising Auckland MP’s to address Auckland issues. Wayne needs to up his MP representation and get some Central Govt Delivery in Auckland. $45B and i cant ride my bike across the harbour in 10 years is a very sad election bribe from our encumbent caretaker govt.

  21. Sadly Labour seem to be left having to put a positive spin on the most expensive option imaginable. Benefits-quite a bit; Cost-never going to be able to afford it; Timing-too late to fix any problem that anyone has now or for the next 30 years. Like Auckland Light Rail, I fear that the large, enthusiastic investigation partnership has concluded that “Everything” is the right answer. If you ask the public, what do they want, then they agree “Everything.” If you ask them, “How much are you willing to pay, you and your descendants unto the third and fourth generation?” the answer might be different, especially if you add, “And this is all that NZ will build for the next 30 years.”
    Never employ a consultant or expert who has not killed at least one of their own projects as too expensive to be worth building.

  22. We need better movement of people now. We are 82 yrs. Saw the harbour bridge being constructed, drove over it many times before married.
    Now after 62 yrs married. Have not viewed another good solution.

  23. As for the Underground Railway scheme – How much patronage would that North Harbour Station get? North Harbour Industrial Estate is low density employment – very low catchment for any one station location and no PT transfer network of any sensible form. And a nice (largely unused) T2 lane on Albany Highway. And a busway Station coming soon to Rosedale Road. Calculating the patronage and the return on investment for that is a stretch. Climbing the steep hills up to Glenfield to get to an underground station…. And not good terrain for a new high-rise residential area.
    Most of Auckland’s intensification redevelopment will have happened before the opportunities can be unlocked by this distant-future stations and won’t be the density that they need. They will probably pay off in about 100 years, when the areas are next rebuilt.
    The only cure for congestion is leaving your car at home.

    1. It would have to be zoned and built with 50 story towers in the catchments in order to get a return. At which point the question is, why are our existing heavy rail stations not zoned for 50 story towers. And is there even demand for that.

    1. Brown said the Auckland Harbour Bridge was not the problem and runs freely “all the time”.

      “At some stage in the future there will be one (another harbour crossing) but why it has to be a tunnel … even our grandfather’s knew that you could build bridges a lot cheaper than tunnels for a start.”

  24. Labour are like gambling addicts trying to play their way out of the political “non-delivery” hole they have created.
    First it was 100,000 Kiwibuild homes they failed to deliver. So they went bigger with promising a tunneled rather surface Auckland light rail project to Mount Roskill and the airport. But that hasn’t been delivered either (or even started), so now they promising extending this to a 47 km long tunnel that goes under the harbour and through the North Shore. To add to the double down boondoggle it includes multiple road tunnels under the harbour.
    These promises are such a joke. Everyone knows our politicians have become gamblers that cannot deliver.
    WK and the various transport consultants are the only winners because they will cherry pick what they want and dump the rest.
    NZ’s politics is such a joke of uselessness.

    1. “Transport Minister David Parker defended the project, saying it should be seen as a phased multi-decade investment.” –
      Stage 1: build the road tunnels
      Stage 2: cancel the rest

  25. Does every Labour transport minister have to announce something even more ridiculous than their predecessor? A tunnel from Auckland to Sydney will be next…

      1. Ye, don’t be panic! NZ is the best as many NZer mention whatever they has chances. No money, no worries, as National already mentioned that they will bring in International money including China to build the road from Far North to middle North Island. What a big chances that those Authorities can dance over the brought in money.

        Perhaps NZ should build a bridge to tie up One Band one Road of China too.

    1. Jimbo Jones, National’s transport ministers also announce ridiculous things. Steven Joyce when he was transport minister announced the Roads of National Extravagance which were built in spite of poor business-cases and so depleted the National Land Transport Fund (among other things) that there was insufficient money to maintain existing roads. National’s present transport spokesperson Simeon Brown has announced another, even more ridiculous tranche of motorways, which no doubt will likely have even poorer business-cases and can only be paid for either by further cuts in other sectors, or by dodgy deals with other countries. This is National’s stock-in-trade. Underfund everything else in order to build a few lavish roads that duplicate existing roads and are far less necessary than the services being cut to pay for them. Better by far, Labour’s slowness to deliver anything, than National’s haste to deliver the wrong things.

  26. In the Post Luke Malpass writes: “After six years of Labour Government, Auckland has finally got a decent transport plan from central Government…”
    “the transition to electric vehicles will change the emissions profile of roads””
    “if the original harbour bridge was affordable, so was new infrastructure”
    “has David Parker’s fingerprints on it.”
    “Parker… is old-school Labour and thinks that people should be able to easily and cheaply get to work”
    “The impulse for good infrastructure comes from the same tradition of Labour egalitarianism.”

    1. So they propose a $45bn project so that people can “cheaply get to work”? Something doesn’t add up there!

      And another thing that doesn’t add up is the proposed number of tunnels to be built. The diagrams all show separate bores for northbound and southbound motorway, and separate bores for northbound and southbound light rail. 2+2=4, so 4 tunnels in total. So why do we keep hearing that 3 tunnels will be built? Are the diagrams wrong, or have people lost the ability to count?

    2. Old school labour – providing a gold plated road to the wealthy North Shore paid for by the working class?

      1. Yes, and don’t ask about the great unwashed masses in the North West. They’re not true working class. If they were, you’d see them at after-work drinks at Prego.

        At least this is showing the nonsense in the media is not limited to talkback radio hosts. But it does suggest a 2017-esque ‘refusal to apply the blowtorch of basic scrutiny’ approach from some this time around.

    3. “the transition to electric vehicles will change the emissions profile of roads””
      X social media style analysis. I say it, so it must be true.
      It simply ignores the reality. Only 2% of the fleet are EVs and there are very significant sales still happening of high emission SUVs that will still be around in 2043. NZ doesn’t have a dogs show of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030, particularly given that the dairy industry will do nothing. Media comment like this is just damaging.

  27. If they’re spending 40b on this why wouldn’t they just make it heavy rail. Then it would connect into the exiting system have higher speeds and not rely on a whole other project to be complete. Light rail/trams should be left for streets.

    1. Exactly. It is much harder to promote a “light rail tunnel”, when there is currently no light rail for it to connect into. Existing rail (I avoid using the word “heavy” unless we are planning for 1000T+ freight trains), everyone understands, and it is already there, tried and proved even in Auckland.

    2. Agree, it should be built to at least the specifications of the driverless Sydney metro system. It appears as though it is being planned as light rail simply to be able to run on-street in Mangere.

      I think it should be separate to the existing rail network though, to remove capacity and dwell time limitations such as boarding ramps and only two doors per carriage.

      1. Whatever the mode, yes – separate. It can “connect” via transfer stations.

        No need to plug into one of the existing lines. Create new ones to areas not serviced.

      2. Yes (didn’t see these comments until now), as per my later comment lower down. It’s designed for a transfer at the mid-town station anyway.
        Fast driverless metro would be the mode from city across the harbour and going north.

  28. I think there’s nothing to wait for. Labour will traditionally promise something enormous, wash millions with research and experts and then will cancel it all. We seen this with light rail. I doubt any of these two tunnels is going to be built at all.

  29. Didn’t Hipkins recently tell us that Labour had been too ambitious and it was time to get back to basics? Why not a simple parallel bridge that had LR and walking and cycling and a couple extra car lanes if they must, promised completion in 5 years.

    1. I suspect the answer is that Labour know National will campaign on a new bridge (as they did in 2020) and want to get in first. From the start Hipkins has been quite pro-car. In contrast, Ardern was in favour of light-rail, but didn’t seem to have an implementation plan, or at least a plan she could stick to.

  30. The most depressing thing about all these mega road promises for me is that they are probably going to be popular with the voting public. I feel very out of touch with the NZ electorate.

  31. This amount of money is crazy, no one will ever built it. The congestion is not normally the bridge, so this in unlikely to solve much. Lets do more bus ways quickly all across Auckland first. Even doing two tunnels which include public transport is sufficient, no need for an extra PT tunnel at that cost.

  32. Perhaps with these costings people may thing we should revert to using a heavy rail system as per the rest of our network. The only only savings would be same rolling stock to maintain and run as you have to transfer at the midtown (Te Waihorotiu) station anyway. You would also get slow door opening and closing.
    I think we should be using light rail on a bridge and it should replace the existing busway. Straight lines, fast and an upgrade on the bus system…and a lot less drivers needed. Ideally it could be driverless metro but whether that works with the isthmus or north west system is another question. If we were to use tunnels through the central city then it would be the mode to choose.

  33. The way we are progressing with the transport situation in the Auckland in the last 40-50 years is not working. It is obvious that we are still doing so many thing wrong and I am afraid we are still continuing along the same path for the next 30 or so years.
    It is clear that we do really need some outside help especially from the European counterpart who are able to improve the transport situation and at the same time reduce emission. This is what we should be aiming for.
    The government and also the Waka Kotaki is not bold enough to deviate from building more roads and increase public transport and bike lanes.

    1. There’s a cultural problem within local and central government in which misinformation is allowed to stand, and staff are effectively trained to be unprofessional. Because it’s so widespread, getting change is hard. Holding up a specific example is taken as a personal attack; discussing the need for widespread change is laughed off as ideological.

      I think most people are dismayed at the results in transport, climate and equity. The outcomes in terms of democracy are even worse.

      We need to get on top of this.

      1. Heidi, the problem is far worse than this. Most people, although they recognise the dangers that climate change present, simply don’t want to change. They want to eat meat and drink milk even though there are more than adequate substitutes. Above all they want to drive because possible inconvenience 10 years down the track is something they think they can face rather than have to sit 10 minutes extra in a bus right now; or have to walk 200m from a bus stop instead of park right outside, for free.
        In short, our selfishness (the no vax argument playing out all over again) will destroy us.
        It seems that every day in the last fortnight there has been a record breaking flood somewhere: India, Pakistan, Austria, Slovenia, Alaska just for starters. This in addition to water shortages, energy shortages, food shortages, fires and mass migration will irreparably wreck our quality of life.
        Stupid comments, like those of the PM, that we are building roads because that is what people want are destructive. We would all have a million dollars in our accounts by next week if the government gave us what we want.
        We need our government to deliver what we need and not what we want.

        1. It is all a question of scale. A smaller amount of necessary driving, if properly regulated and enforced, we could live with. Likewise a modest amount of dairy and meat consumption. But we have taken all these to gross excess. Driving is considered the default entitlement for all journeys no matter how necessary or not, and so we have pitched our transport policy at massive cost to try and accommodate this. As regards dairy and meat, we have set ourselves up as suppliers to the world for the monetary gain that this brings. In each case the scale of what we have allowed and encouraged to develop has created major adverse and unsustainable consequences. And now that we are increasingly confronted by these consequences, we find ourselves unable or unwilling to dial back on the privileges that have brought them about. This is where incisive and firm governance is needed, to guide us out of this, but our current political framework lacks such leadership. Few of us would wish to swing towards to an authoritarian state so a middle way is needed. The best way would be for as many intelligent and thinking people as possible to use their brains, climb down off their high-horses of privilege/entitlement, and add their voices to the call for necessary change. Then maybe the government would feel sufficiently emboldened to act. However, so far it seems that short-sightedness and a desire to retain privilege-protection have clouded the minds of even the intelligent and perceptive – or many of them. Somehow, the blinkers need to come off.

        2. So in your utopian world, only veganism is allowed and the Government would enforce this? Are you suggesting a fine for eating chicken or should we send carnivores to labour camps?

          I’ve just read the results of the Waka Kotahi engagement and more people wanted general traffic than walking and cycling capacity. In fact, active modes were the least popular out of rail, road and walking/cycling.

          Democracy has spoken, the Governments job is to deliver what the majority want.

        3. Goodness gracious, Henry F, you have taken my fairly mild suggestions and extrapolated them way beyond the blue. I am no vegan, and neither do I advocate it for others. I was only suggesting that flogging our little islands to feed vast populations elsewhere is producing some negative consequences.
          And I am sure you are right, that a survey of Joe Public would yield more support for keeping cyclists and peds off the AHB than liberating a lane (I presume this is what you were referring to above, even though I didn’t mention it earlier).
          My point was that if people used their brains they would realise that things have to change, and rather than closing their eyes and screaming NO, using their voices (and their votes) to call for change might be the best way to solve this. Democracy is great, but it tends to work better when people open their eyes and use their brains.

        4. There are too many NZ people with water in their brains. They never know NZ has overdone on the climate change! These water brained people only want walking no driving to achieve their dreams. The world need attention but NZ water brained people have do it 100 times more!

  34. Here’s a fun activity: Get a map of downtown Auckland – Britomart, Viaduct, Freemans bay and then draw on it the size of the ground works needed to build the tunnel portal. Including handling the spoil (second runway at Mangere?). You can use the Waterview tunnel as an example. Show where the air-handling facility and towers will be placed relative to the high density apartments. Do the same for the northern portal where it will have to come up through the shallows at Ngataringa bay.

    From NZ Herald at the time Waterview was under way: “They are using explosives to blast their way through a thick layer of extremely hard basalt to softer sandstone. That will create a hole at the end of the trench which will end up about 100m long and 35m deep, in which the tunnel boring machine with its 13.3m-diameter drilling head will be assembled.

    The hole was resembling an open-pit mine when the Herald toured the site just before Christmas, and the contractors were through much of the basalt, but at a depth of 15m they were still only at the top of where the tunnels will be bored.”

    For extra credit: Work out the geometry of coming down the slope to Victoria park (or Victoria Quarry – see above) and then go down 15 metres to get to the bottom of the harbour and add 10 metres (estimated) to get enough headroom above the tunnel and 10 metres to get to the road level in the tunnel.

    1. I remember reading here, I think, about 10 years ago that the venting towers for tunnels would need to be 10m above sea level.
      Imagine thinking that that would get past environment court, with all the connected folk of St Mary’s Bay etc protecting their views.
      I mean, the plan is stupid itself, but thinking it has any hope of getting to actual construction is just deluded.

      1. Yeah, the venting towers have really ruined Hong Kong and Sydney harbours 😀 On the bright side, any vents can employ carbon capture and then the project will be carbon negative.

        1. Has you ever be at Hong Kong Harbour? In your dream? Hong Kong Harbour is one of the best harbour in the world, water quality is good, air quality is good consider number of people living there is four times more than Auckland but the land size just less than half of Auckland!

        2. I was employing sarcasm to make a point Haris. I was in Hong Kong last Saturday and tonight I am going to Sydney, both have tunnels under their harbours, neither have 10M high exhaust chimneys protruding from the water like Scott (above) is suggesting.
          The only thing that amazes me about this project is that it was not started 20 years ago.

        3. Henry, are the air really that bad in Hong Kong due to the chimney? Need to consider number of vehicles using and efficiency of the under sea tunnel contributed. Unless we are walking without breathing than air will be fresh. A modern city like Hong Kong is one of the most effective economy that NZ can’t compare.

        4. The Sydney tunnel has an 89m tall exhaust tower in the middle of the harbour, it’s in the pylon of the bridge.

  35. Food for thought!
    If bridges are half the cost of tunnels. you save 20 billion.
    Cambridge to Levin is approx. 400km, Puhio to Warkworth cost approximately 1 billion for 20km of four lanning, so to have four lanes between Auckland and Wellington would cost approximately = 400/20*1 = 20 billion.
    Why is bridging off the table?

  36. Both Parker and Hipkins explained to Bernard Hickey (on his The Kaka podcast) that the reason for the road tunnels going first is so they can unlock the current bridge for extending the Northern Busway into the city.

    It’s idiotic to even mention this without improving bus priority city-bound from Onewa to the foot of the bridge and shore-bound from Fanshawe St to the Curran St onramp. The bridge is not the bottleneck, the approaches are.

    This isn’t even to mention that the busses (probably) spend more time in Wellesley St bus snakes thanks to poor traffic light timing or in Customs St due to non-existing bus priority between Commerce St and Albert St (and even further east to Beach Rd).

    1. These guys are mad if they think that building six lane twin motorway tunnels from Newton gully to Smales Farm, including a new spaghetti junction at each end… so that you can shuffle around the motorway lanes, is the quickest and easiest way to extend the busway across the harbour.
      Why not just extend the busway across the harbour then. Perhaps a short cheap bridge with some bike lanes and a footpath?

  37. Waka Kotahi continues to show that it’s culture, and assumed functions, has progressed little since the days of it’s predecessor The National Roads Board.

    Waka Kotahi, Your prime role is not to facilitate the various strands of the huge motoring industry.

    Even some of your co sponsored promotional advertising plays on the exhilaration that recreational riding a motorbike quickly with technical precision gives, disguised as a road safety measure. That is far far from your role.

    Your prime role must be to facilitate the movement of people and goods by the most efficient and least environmentally taxing methods available. Especially now in our already dangerously overstressed environment.

    Remember that, and place that foremost in all you do.

    Forget vehicle counts, concentrate only on counting moving people and freight movements. Safely, Efficiently, and counting emissions.

    Six extra, phenomenally expensive lanes, to build and to operate, for one inefficient mode only of moving predominantly people just between the traffic jams north of Akoranga and to those south Victoria Park, WTF?

    And you have got to do this before you can build two small bore railway tunnels,
    that actually have a higher capacity to move people? WTF again.

    Railway tunnels that need far less expensive ventilation and fire suppression systems and hugely less spoil to removed and energy intensive concrete to make.

    How about building the rail first, Light, Heavy or Middleweight does not matter, and watch how much traffic evaporates as people mode shift.

    The very same route experienced massive mode shift and expected vehicle reduction 20 years ago with the construction of the busway that for the first time in Auckland positively demonstrated that their was actually an extraordinarily viable alternative to provide more transport capacity, other then just adding more lane kilometres.

    Construction that again was far from approved by the conventional traffic modellers in Waka Kotahi’s predecessors.

    Mr Hipkins you have been conned by motoring, and construction industry vested interests big time. You are choosing the wrong consultants and listening to wrong people.

    You are not looking after Auckland, and our environment interests remotely adequately.
    With a third of the vote, expect consequences.

    1. DonR, +1 to that.
      Unfortunately the powers-that-be seem impervious to such reasoning and continue to do what they have always done. The Labour government was in a strong position to implement changes after the last election but it failed to do so. Therefore our unsustainable BAU persists. We remain a nation of car-addicts continuing to feed the habit with no treatment-program in sight. I fear that only a big crisis will jolt us out of this rut, and then we will all be wishing we had acted sooner.

  38. Finally the Auckland’s North Shore Light Rail plan has been announced! As you know Option 1 has been chosen for Auckland’s Second Harbour crossing with the road tunnel going through the Waitemata Harbour, as for the Light Rail tunnel, goes into Belmont, Takapuna and Smales Farm, Glenfield, North Harbour, Albany West and terminus at Albany Bus Station and start construction by 2029. Though, feel that government’s decision on the crossing could of been well thought and won’t actually improve patronage numbers from private vehicle to public transport as it’s core mission due to connivence and lot more deeper transport issues on the Shore which Mayor of Auckland alerts too.

    The Aucklands Auckland’s North Shore Light Rail plan Option 1 is good option, but, yet again it is very costly! For this plan to happen, the government should lay out a phase by phase plan for the rail, instead of going for all-out let’s get it done all in one go. The light rail plan doesn’t actually capture commuters and doesn’t make it easier to get from Point A to B or get around.

    Also the plan reveals that once it gets to Glenfield, it bypasses important catchment, Wairau Park, which is the heart and soul of the North Shore for going retail shopping and entertainment purposes. Lots of people head over there for exactly that, not only that, in-future it’ll become a site for high density residential. But there’s no current accessible fast mode to get around for people not living around the proximity for the area, like people from Takapuna who have to take two buses get there, but want to go to Wairau Park by one bus. The Light Rail should be used as an opportunity to grow Wairau Park to a better retail/entertainment complex and experience, along with building higher density housing.

    It doesn’t make sense to be building a road tunnel if you’re not going do something about Akoranga station since it will interfere with the overall construction of the road tunnel because it’s in the way with being able to reconfigure Esmonde interchange and affect plans to construct. You may as-well build it together the harbour crossing for both road and rail together as one phase. Along with building a new Akoranga Station.

    The Mayor of Auckland has a point on this project, “are about politics, not transport”. What Auckland and the North Shore needs is diversified ways of using transport, as-well as it being fast, convenient, reliable, economically, feasibly sustainable and good for value modes of transport! Point being said, there are small projects in the North Shore like more bus lanes or busway make small incremental impact, which bring bring huge beneficial change for the community, not only that, but for the climate! If we had more bus lanes and busways right now, commuters would see a reason to transition from private vehicles to public transport cause it faster and more reliable mode to get around, not only that, you’d see less need for building more expansion of road lanes.

    Projects North Shore needs which make small incremental impact but bring huge benefits:
    Taharoto Road Busway
    Lake Road Busway (Takapuna – Belmont)
    Constellation Drive Bus Lane
    Othea Valley Road Bus Lane
    Onewa Road Busway
    Lake Road Bus Lane (Northcote)

  39. It would be ok if not for that dumb road tunnel. If they build it they should completely free the bridge for PT and active modes, otherwise what’s the point building tunnel from and to almost exact same points of entry and exit from/to CBD and North Shore. I could understand if they would make it in a different spot but the same exact place? So it looks like for drivers it will be a dilemma do I go up or down. Whatever you choose you will emerge at the same spot and probably within the same amount of time. I’m sorry but it sounds stupid.

    1. Re- ” If they build it they should completely free the bridge for PT and active modes, otherwise what’s the point building tunnel from and to almost exact same points of entry and exit from/to CBD and North Shore.” Totally in agreement with this, I hope someone in a meaningful position will take that up, otherwise it’ll be more of the same- choices for cars, but ongoing hassle for anyone else.

      1. Can’t afford to see such a thing happens! Who pay the tax? Only those Auckland people? Only those cycling? Only those travel North and South Auckland City? Sorry, be fair to each who pay the tax to use, not just those cycling!

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