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Eastern Corridor Development Accelerated

The Eastern Corridor has been given a major push by the Transport Committee of the Auckland City Council which has asked for a well-researched shortlist of options for developing the corridor “as quickly as is practicable.”

The development options are included in the first phase of a study to determine exactly what additional transport facilities should be developed in the corridor to meet future traffic demand generated by land-use developments in the eastern parts of the isthmus, and further south.

The study will also take into account the social and physical benefits and costs of any facilities and alignment, and should take account of regional and local issues, the committee recommended this week.

The chairperson of the committee, Councillor Greg McKeown, has made it clear that “we are not back to square one, and none of the previous work will be unnecessarily repeated.”

While the committee has clearly signalled it wants to get on with the necessary studies to progress the corridor, it also flagged its intention to consult Transit New Zealand and the Manukau City Council to have the corridor built as a state highway project.

Councillor McKeown said the committee decided to take a staged approach to the project and work with the other organisations to advance the planning studies.

“This will allow the committee to make vital assessments of progress and to allocate resources accordingly each time key milestones are met,” said Councillor McKeown.

“If it is agreed that the corridor needs to be developed as a state highway, we’ll ask Transit New Zealand to take over the project.”

He said another key element of the planning phase is to investigate funding the construction and operation of the corridor through a private-public partnership.

Transfund has provided funding for the initial planning phase. The council will manage the project and make provision to fund any shortfall.

Cr McKeown said the meeting was a significant one for the development of the Eastern Corridor.

“The case for transport developments in the Eastern Corridor is compelling,” he said.

”Council officers have reported that a transport problem exists, it needs addressing and there are a range of possible solutions which need to be assessed, all of which require development of this corridor.”

“Research has shown that a do-nothing option is not viable and the committee’s resolutions reflect several positive steps to get the necessary preliminary work completed as quickly as possible.”

Councillor McKeown said the council would conduct open and full consultation and communication with stakeholders throughout the project because of the high level of public interest.

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