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Study Looks At Another Waitemata Harbour Crossing

Auckland Regional Office
21 October 2003

MEDIA RELEASE

Study Looks At Another Waitemata Harbour Crossing

Transit New Zealand has released the results of a feasibility study on the possible construction of an additional Waitemata Harbour crossing close to the current bridge. It considered both tunnel and bridge options.

The study results from Policy C3.7 of the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy. This states that Transit, in partnership with the Auckland Regional Council, North Shore City Council and Auckland City Council, must ‘plan for and protect the ability to construct an additional road crossing of the Waitemata Harbour in the vicinity of the Auckland Harbour Bridge’. Additionally, the crossing must connect directly by tunnel to the Northwestern Motorway-State Highway 20 extension.

The Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy noted that population growth in the Auckland region was expected to rise from its current 1.2 million people to 2 million in 2050 and, as a result, north-south transportation capacity would have to be improved.

Transit Regional Manager, Wayne McDonald, says the study reports only on constructability at this stage and the next step is for Transit to report back to the Regional Land Transport Committee, which will then review the issue of the location of an additional harbour crossing.

The harbour crossing study considered the alignment and form of the proposed crossing for road traffic, passenger transport, pedestrians and cyclists. The study was confined to within 1km of the existing bridge and between an eastern line from Onewa Road to Hobson Wharf and a western line from Onewa Road to Erin Point.

The preferred bridge option (Option 0A) is for a separate bridge 500m west of the existing harbour bridge with a viaduct from the Northern Motorway median leading to a short cut-and-cover tunnel under Princes and Queen Streets connecting to the new bridge at Northcote Point. At the Erin Point southern end, the bridge would link to a 3.7km tunnel running under Ponsonby to the Northwestern Motorway at Western Springs. This option is also seen as having the least impact on Northcote Point, as well as being the easiest to construct.

The preferred tunnel option (Option 5) is an immersed-tube tunnel running under the harbour from the Northern Motorway to Wynyard Wharf. This would link with cut-and-cover tunnels southbound to Halsey Street and northbound to Beaumont Street, under the western reclamation. A proposed connection to the Central Motorway Junction would also give above-ground access to the port and the Northwestern Motorway. This option is also considered to provide better network connectivity and public transport connections across the harbour than any of the other bridge or tunnel options considered.

“The main focus of the study was to gain a better understanding of the technical issues involved, says Mr McDonald. “We will be consulting widely with the public and key stakeholders to incorporate their needs, suggestions and concerns.

“At the same time we will need to investigate further to firm up on preferred options and support the planning process in the subsequent phases. These investigations will require a full economic assessment, transport modelling to establish the traffic impacts of the new routes and more detailed environmental studies. We will also have to do detailed work examining the location and impact of tunnel portals and exhaust stacks, construction sites for bridges and tunnels and possible landslide impacts of cut-and-cover tunnels.”

Mr McDonald says the next phase of the investigation will further evaluate options to access the required North Shore and Auckland roadworks. He adds that this will only take place once the Regional Land Transport Committee decides on which option, or options, will be pursued.

The project is expected to take 15-20 years to complete and, while firm costs are still to be determined, he says the costs of a new crossing, in whatever form, will probably exceed $3 billion for construction.

ends

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