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Council studying $400m inner-city rail tunnel

Council studying $400 million inner-city rail tunnel

Auckland City is investigating a $400 million dollar underground rail tunnel connecting the Britomart Transport Centre to the western line at Mt Eden.

The tunnel would run from the Britomart station, under the Downtown area, up Albert, Vincent and Pitt streets, under the Central Motorway Junction and connect with the western rail line between Dominion Road and the Mt Eden station.

Councillor Greg McKeown, the chairman of the council’s Transport Committee who is also championing the planned Avondale to Southdown rail link, says there is a need to “think further ahead, faster” on the rail network issue.

He says details of the inner-city train tunnel are at an early investigation stage that has determined it is technically feasible.

The tunnel would be around three kilometres and allow either conventional or light rail, to pass through the city more rapidly, and safely, without competing with cars, buses and pedestrians.

Stations, accessed from the street, could be located at Wellesley Street and Karangahape Road greatly increasing accessibility in the CBD.

“If this is finally determined to be both buildable and fundable, it would create a great inner-city rail loop which would link Britomart, Mt Eden and Newmarket,” says Councillor McKeown.

“It would provide important links with the western line and the North Island Main Trunk Line at Newmarket and would increase the capacity and efficiency of the Britomart station and the rest of the network.”

He says that a combination of national and regional funding will be required to move the project forward.

In addition to the inner-loop, the option of a future tunnel extension to North Shore has also been identified as technically feasible.

Councillor McKeown says the inner-city rail tunnel would be complementary to new bus-based services being planned for the city.

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