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Council reaffirms position on harbour crossings

Council reaffirms position on further harbour crossing

North Shore City Council has reaffirmed its opposition to the building of a further harbour crossing between North Shore City and Auckland City if it is primarily for private motor vehicles.

Instead it supports further investigation of a crossing for public transport but with provision for emergency vehicles, freight and multi-passenger vehicles. It also strongly prefers a tunnel rather than a bridge.

North Shore City also reaffirmed its support for faster introduction of additional ferry services, more efficient use of existing road, bridge, and rail connections, and the development of the upper harbour (State Highway 18) motorway as key elements of an integrated solution to Auckland's transport problems.

These choices were considered at a recent meeting of the strategy and finance committee, and reflected the positions taken by the council in 1998 and 1999 following major region-wide consultation and hearings.

The issue of a further harbour crossing has again come under the spotlight with the announcement that investigative work is to proceed on the Manukau/Auckland City eastern corridor, with concerns that there will be pressure to continue that motorway across the harbour to North Shore City.

Transit New Zealand has recently commissioned a study on the "constructability" of another harbour crossing - in line with the Regional Land Transport Strategy.

The 11 options considered in 1998/99 were outlined to the committee. Nine of those crossed the harbour between the existing bridge and Devonport, with a choice of a tunnel or bridge; and the other two, causeway and bridge options following the general alignment of the Meola Reef from Pt Chevalier to Highbury (Birkenhead).

North Shore City has now restated its preference for a tunnel closely following the alignment of the existing harbour bridge, and linking with existing access roads. The estimated cost of the options, based on 1997 dollars, range from $257 million for a two-bus lane duplicate of the existing harbour bridge to $1727 million for a Judges Bay (Parnell) to Esmonde Rd (Takapuna) tunnel. A four-lane option duplicating the existing bridge is estimated at between $700 - $939 million, depending on access.

Strategy and finance committee chairperson, Tony Holman, says that while it is important to review the various options for a harbour crossing now, it is highly unlikely that construction will start for at least 15, and probably 20 years.

"But it's also very important to reaffirm our position here in North Shore City, because we must make it clear to transport planners on both sides of the harbour that another crossing, wherever it is, will have major environmental, transport and cost implications for North Shore City people," Councillor Holman says.

"We must also make it absolutely clear that the emphasis in all our transport planning, and any crossing in particular, is to favour public transport over privately-owned cars as the most efficient and effective way of moving people around the region. For that reason we have recommended to the Auckland Regional Council and Transit New Zealand that a full study be made immediately of the effects on North Shore and Auckland cities of any proposed crossing. It will be reviewed after that," he says.

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