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Eastern Transport Corridor Moves Closer

Eastern Transport Corridor Moves Closer

The Eastern Transport Corridor project has moved forward following all three partners in the project - Auckland City, Manukau City and Transit - giving the green light for further investigation and consultation on 11 possible options and 47 individual alignments within those options.

Information about the options could not be officially released to the public until all three project partners had agreed, and that happened on Thursday when the Manukau City Council Transport Committee considered and approved the options put forward by Opus International Consultants. Auckland City Council and the Transit Board had already met earlier and approved the options for further investigation and consultation.

Auckland City Transport Committee and Eastern Corridor Steering Group chairperson Greg McKeown says the next phase of investigation and consultation is very important.

“Opus International has considered all previous work, consulted with the public, and undergone further technical analysis. The outcome, after eliminating options that are not viable to build, is a range of options that they have advised are technically feasible. We have approved further work and consultation on all of the technically feasible options they have recommended.”

“The consultants will again listen carefully to what people tell them at venues within Auckland and Manukau Cities in October and then present back a recommended preferred route in mid February 2004.

“What is really important is the public engages with Opus in this forthcoming consultation round. They have been consulted many times in the past over the Eastern Corridor – this next phase is the key one that will help determine the preferred route,” says Mr McKeown.

“This next phase is about alignment, form and mode. In simple terms what that means is where it goes, how it is built, and what forms of transport are catered for. The next phase of investigation will definitely involve further detailed analysis of passenger transport components, construction staging options, and the extent of mitigation measures,” he says.

“We are also looking at opportunities beyond moving people and freight to include good urban design along the corridor and particularly around adjacent town centres.”

Some of the options to be considered in this next round of consultation came from people putting ideas to Opus during the first round of public consultation in June.

Manukau City Transport chairperson Ian McGechie says it’s time to end the gridlock on the Southern Motorway and get the rail link more fully utilised. He says he likes the focus on public transport in the Eastern Transport Corridor combined with greater ability to move freight about the city.

This is the first project that is being developed under central government’s Transport Strategy which requires a broad focus incorporating public transport, cycling and walking, and careful attention to environmental and amenity considerations.

“It’s vital everyone who believes they will be impacted by any of the options being put out for consideration gets along to the consultation days and has their say.”

He says while the decisions about where the corridor will eventually go and what transport modes it will offer are complex, people must take the time to look at them and give feedback to the consultation team.

“What’s important now is that we get to a recommended preferred option as quickly as possible so that we can give certainty to those who find their homes or businesses are on or near a route option. “

While being aware of the potential impact of the project on people’s lives, the Auckland City Council and Manukau City Council must have a preferred option before they can move to purchase properties needed for the project. Pending finalisation of the recommended preferred option, an acquisition strategy is being developed that will cater for the impact on affected properties.

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