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Momentum builds for conclusion on SH20 Avondale


3 July 2003

Momentum builds for conclusion

on SH20 Avondale extension route

Auckland City's transport committee called yesterday for the early completion of investigations into the route options for the State Highway 20 (SH20) Avondale extension, emphasising the importance of this project for the city's future transport network and the need to remove uncertainty for the communities involved.

"We don't want the assessments inappropriately hurried in any way - but we want to make the point that Auckland City would like to see this project completed by 2010. We have to maintain the momentum so we can progress with further plans to alleviate traffic management issues in Auckland City," says Mr McKeown.

Transit provided the transport committee and community board representatives an update on the two short listed routes to link SH20 Mt Roskill extension with the State Highway 16 motorway: AW1 connecting through Waterview, and AR1 connecting through the Rosebank Peninsula.

A comprehensive response prepared by Auckland City transport and community planning staff made it clear that Auckland City is taking a comprehensive and community-orientated view of the project.

"We are dialled in to community concerns about the need to develop open space, protect the natural environment, and minimise effects on residential communities as much as possible. We are dialling up urban design issues relating to town centre development for Avondale, Mt Albert, and in the longer term places like Stoddard Rd. And we are dialling forward plans for the development of passenger transport, both rail and bus, along and around this route," says Mr McKeown. "We have encouraged Transit to work with us as closely as possible on these issues."

"The public appreciate seeing detail, and the more that can be developed, the better qualified we become to express a preference between the two short-listed options. For example, on- and off-ramp locations and their design have a huge influence on surrounding communities and traffic patterns," says Mr McKeown.

Transit's connection of SH20 with SH16 will open up a new strategic route for the region from Manukau, across the south west part of the isthmus and to the north, relieving the pressured SH1 and spaghetti junction, and dramatically improving the flow of traffic through the whole central roading network.

It is hoped that Transit New Zealand will report the estimated cost of each alignment, including any additional upgrading costs to Auckland City's transport committee as early as possible and before any decision.

The committee placed priority on the following two criteria when evaluating the proposed routes:-

- Efficient and economic transport of people and goods

- Commercial, social and economic development of adjacent town centres and business zones

but noted that these were only part of the equation and listed a raft of important issues relating to impact on land use, the local environment, community issues and technical suitability:

- promoting community and economic development of adjacent town centres and business zones and accommodating the council's aspirations for growth in the corridor, including Avondale

- integration of Avondale - Southdown rail corridor with SH20 development

- minimising the impacts on the city's arterial network

- ensuring the option to develop bus priority measures on New North Road and Great North Road is maintained

- ensuring appropriate pedestrian connections are included in the project adjacent and across the motorway corridor

- maintaining the quality and quantity of public open space

- accommodating the completion of south western cycle route

- a high standard of mitigation is provided with the project including measures to address the impacts of air and water quality, noise emissions and visual impacts through the length of the corridor.

- particular regard must be paid to the potential impacts on Oakley Creek and Motu Manawa Marine Reserve

- the potential effects on ground water and stormwater.

Because a sense of momentum is desirable, the council recognises all consultation and impact assessments must be completed prior to decisions being made.

While it is about solving outstanding traffic and roading issues in the city, Mr McKeown points out it is more than traffic issues which are at stake here: "While two options are still on the table, many community initiatives remain on hold. We'd like to see this network route resolved so we can move forward with local projects such as re-establishing parks and developing links between residential areas and community facilities."

Current investigation results to date provide the framework but do not provide enough detailed information to make a recommendation on a preferred alignment at this time. Issues such as interchange locations, construction techniques and mitigation levels have yet to be determined. Once Transit New Zealand releases further information on the two alignment options, it will be possible to make such a recommendation.


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