Recommended option for Eastern Transport Corridor
9 March 2004
Eastern Transport Corridor announced
Consultants working for Auckland City, Manukau City and Transit NZ have given their Recommended Option for the Eastern Transport Corridor to the Steering Group charged with guiding the project.
Some of the options that were presented previously as being technically feasible are no longer being considered part of the Eastern Transport Corridor. These include the Quarry option through Meadowbank, the Kepa Road option, and the Farm Cove option through Pakuranga.
Opus consultants have recommended a route that largely follows the existing designation in the northern section of the corridor except at the central city end where they have presented two options to the politicians for consideration – one across Hobson Bay following the existing rail line and another that tunnels under the southern shore of Hobson Bay and links with the central business district (CBD) through Parnell.
The recommended alignment is:
From Manukau to Pakuranga the project involves widening of Te Irirangi Drive and Ti Rakau Drive for one bus lane in each direction. The intersection at Botany Road, Te Irirangi Drive and Ti Rakau is upgraded by enhancing the present intersection. The traffic movements at Pakuranga are improved by providing a Reeves Road overbridge.
From Pakuranga to Panmure, two routes are provided. The southern route across Pakuranga Bridge and around Panmure Basin is to provide increased general vehicle capacity. The northern route along Lagoon Drive provides increased bus passenger transport.
From Panmure to Orakei, the eastern transport corridor follows the rail line and existing designation for a transport corridor. This length of the route has both bus lanes and general traffic lanes.
From Orakei to Auckland’s CBD there are two alternative routes. The first is across Hobson Bay, around Mechanics Bay and connection to SH16 at Grafton Gully. The bus lane and general traffic lanes follow the same route with the Hobson Bay option. The other option involves a tunnel from Orakei to SH16 at Grafton Gully. In this Parnell Tunnel option, the bus lanes take a different route from the general traffic lanes and continue to cross Hobson Bay as they do with the Hobson Bay option. Only one of these two options will form part of the Corridor.
The Opus report says costs for the Corridor project will vary depending whether the Hobson Bay option or the Parnell option is chosen. The expected cost for the Eastern Corridor project if the Hobson Bay option is chosen is $2.8 billion; the expected cost for the project with the Parnell option is $3.2 billion. Opus has also provided high-end cost estimations based on Transit NZ’s cost evaluation manual that allows for a 95 percentile upper-end cost. At 95 percentile the cost for the Corridor project with the Hobson Bay option is $3.3 billion and the cost for the Parnell option is $3.9 billion.
The cost of providing passenger transport and walking and cycling is expected to be about 30 per cent of the total project cost.
The cost of land is expected to account for another 30 per cent of the total cost.
The report remains a recommendation until it has been formally adopted by the councils and Transit NZ.
The Steering Group will consider the recommendations contained in the Opus report. During workshops in March and April the group will reach their own conclusions on the Opus recommendation and when they are satisfied it will be passed to the three project parties – through the transport committees of Auckland City Council, Manukau City Council and the Board of Transit NZ -- for decisions to be made. Those decisions are expected to be made in April and May. Future action will be determined by the project parties.
The Eastern Transport Corridor project is the first project to be developed under the frameworks of the New Zealand Land Transport Strategy released in December 2002 and the Land Transport Management Act of 2003. The project is a large economic development and urban transformation undertaking.