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Cost/benefit analysis for inner-city rail tunnel

Cost/benefit analysis for inner-city rail tunnel

Auckland City Council’s Transport Committee today agreed to undertake a high-level cost/benefit analysis for an underground rail tunnel connecting the Britomart Transport Centre to the western line.

Early estimates indicate the cost for the tunnel to the western rail corridor would be about $350-400 million.

The rail 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.

The analysis will cover aspects relating to increased efficiencies at Britomart, improvements to the whole rail network, and land and community development, and will include future rail networks like the Avondale/Southdown line.

The addition of the tunnel would increase the capacity and efficiency of the Britomart station, making it a through station rather than a terminating one, and would create a rapid transit loop in the central city. The completion of the Avondale/Southdown line would create an outer loop.

The council’s Transport Committee chair, Councillor Greg McKeown, said the loops would connect more of the region’s suburbs with more key destinations. “People travelling to and from the CBD will have more destination choices,” Mr McKeown said.

“The tunnel would allow rail to pass through the city more rapidly and safely without the competition of cars, buses or pedestrians. It will provide a faster service than street-running alternatives and it’s safe. People want to get around the city safely and quickly.”

Councillor McKeown added that there were enough potential benefits to merit further analysis, and in the meantime council would continue to push for more action on improvements to the current rail network, bus and ferry services, and the roading network across the isthmus.

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