TransportBlog did a recent post showing that NZTA are not including rail in their $27m budget for an additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing. Instead, NZTA are leaving the rail designation up to Auckland Transport and Kiwirail. On the face of it this might seem a valid approach, but this is the same approach used for rapid transit to Auckland Airport. Of course, years after the completion of the Manukau Harbour Crossing project we are still waiting for rail to the airport, and in the meantime the $1.8bn East West Link and Kirkbride Road projects effectively undo the so called “future proofing” for rail.
As TransportBlog points out, the AWHC work is ill-considered and over-rushed. It also looks as if the NZTA are planning a tunnel all the way from Victoria Park to Esmonde Rd, making the project potentially even more expensive.
In our view, NZTA need to stop what they are doing and include rail in the AWHC project in a collaborative way from the outset. We’ve asked the NZTA to put the route protection work on hold until this and a number of issues have been resolved, as outlined in this letter. We are waiting for the NZTA to respond.