2016 – A Year in Review Part 3 – Roads

This is Part 3 of our series wrapping up the year and in this post I’m looking at Roads. You can also see: Part 1 on public transport Part 2 on Walking and Cycling Here’s my summary ATAP The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) has been a huge feature of the year and while not strictly road related, I’ll include it in this summary. Importantly, despite I think asking many of the wrong questions and focusing too much on the modelling, it largely came out with the right answers. For example, it highlights We can’t build out of way of congestion A major expansion of the “strategic public transport network” is required Auckland’s …
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Applying for Motorways

A few days before Christmas and the NZTA have been busy little beavers, lodging not one but two consent applications for major Auckland projects last week. the Northern Corridor and the East-West Link (despite the council asking them to hold off for just a few more months). With thousands of pages worth of reports in each of the applications plus their supporting documents, perhaps the NZTA were targeting those looking for something to do over the Christmas/New Year period. Due to the volume of information I’m not going into much detail about each of these but you can be sure we will in the new year. The Northern Corridor is expected to …
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Skypath and East-West; good, bad and ugly

To borrow a sports analogy, yesterday was a bit of a “game of two halves”. There was good, bad and ugly all thrown in from different sources. I thought I’d highlight them both in this post. The good fantastic After decades pushing the vision and years of hard work by some amazingly dedicated people, yesterday it was confirmed that Skypath will be granted consent. Consent was initially issued in July last year however as expected, some of the groups who have long opposed Skypath appealed to the Environment Court. Earlier this year two of those groups dropped out, the Herne Bay Residents Association claiming it would never happen anyway, and the Northcote Point Residents Association …
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Onehunga ceded to the NZTA

We’ve long been concerned about the East-West Link, from the when it was suddenly catapulted out of nowhere from not even being on long term plans straight to being one of the city’s top transport priorities, to effectively becoming one of the governments Roads of National Significance. From its increasingly eye-watering cost that has ballooned from around $600 million just a few years ago to over $1.8 billion, more than the cost of the Waterview tunnels and without a skerrick of concern from the media, to the fact cheaper and effective options stack up even when compared against those original construction costs. And of course from when it was planned to plough through houses in Mangere severing communities, to filling …
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Widen a road to save $1.8 billion

Auckland Transport are consulting on the widening a 900m section Neilson St in Onehunga as part of the East-West link. The public are being given a chance to have their say on changes designed to improve travel times and congestion along Neilson Street in Onehunga. The improvements which include changes to parking in the area are part of the local transport improvements of the East West Connections project and are designed to provide benefits for local road users including freight along Neilson Street. The work involves creating four lanes (increasing from two) on Neilson Street between Alfred Street and Angle Street. A clearway and no stopping zone is proposed to …
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Submit (today) on East-West

The East-West Link feels a lot like the preverbal snowball rolling down a slope, constantly gathering momentum as it simultaniously gets bigger and bigger in scale, cost and the NZTA’s haste to get started. A month ago and based on documents received from an OIA, I wrote about how the cost of the project had ballooned from an estimated $550-660 million when the government gave the go ahead to accelerate its construction up to now $1.8 billion and presumably still climbing. I’ve also written about some of the main risks the NZTA see for the project, including the biggest of them, getting consent to reclaim a massive chunk of foreshore. They’re looking …
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The Main Risks of East-West

Last week I wrote about the East West Link Connections and how the cost of the project were ever increasing and how the staging for the project had changed. The post was based on a number of papers I received from the NZTA as a result of an OIA request. One aspect I didn’t cover were some of the major risks that have been identified for the project. These are described in the paper from December 2015, I’ve left out the funding risk as not really relevant to this post. The underlying land use and travel demand assumptions for the project are based on an agreed medium growth scenario associated with the …
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East-West an ever increasing cost

I recently received back an OIA request from the NZTA on a few projects. One part of that was related to the Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing and the other which I’ll cover in this post was about the East West Link Connections. Among other things the documents highlight a project that is rapidly increasing in cost to a level around three times initial suggestions. Like I did with the AWHC post, I’ll highlight what I found interesting from each of the nine documents in chronological order. September 2014 A briefing to the former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee giving an update on the project and informing that they would soon start public consultation on …
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Transport discussions in Parliament this week

This week in Parliament the government have been using patsy questions to talk up their recent transport announcements about the City Rail Link and East-West Link. Both are entertaining in their own ways. On Wednesday there was almost a bit surreal when Transport Minister Simon Bridges got asked a series of patsy questions by Botany MP and former councillor Jami-Lee-Ross about the CRL. This extended to a couple of questions from other members in the house. What I found most interesting is watching Bridges now defend the decision to allow construction to start in 2018 after he and his predecessors spent so many years defending why they wouldn’t make that a decision. While we’re …
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East-West consenting to happen

Normally organisations don’t make announcements late on the last Friday afternoon before Christmas unless it’s about something they don’t  want much coverage of by the media. Last Friday the NZTA made an announcement that would fit in that category – they’re now going to try and obtain consent for the East-West Link. This is the $1 billion+ project that will create a new barrier between to the water right at a time when we’ve just spent nearly $30 million to fix the foreshore on the other side on Onehunga. It also comes right after Panuku Development Auckland announced that Onehunga would be one of their top priorities including the redevelopment of the …
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