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Building to start this year on NZ first Busway

Auckland Regional Office

27 May 2004


Building to start this year on New Zealand’s first Busway

Nearly 17 years after the idea was first mooted, firm plans can now be made to build New Zealand’s first-ever dedicated busway following a funding announcement by Transfund New Zealand. Transit New Zealand is now able to begin construction of the ‘Northern Busway’ – serving the North Shore and Rodney, it will run alongside 8.5km of State Highway 1 from Constellation Drive to the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

“Transit is very pleased to have passed this important milestone,” Transit Auckland regional manager Wayne McDonald said today.

“This has been possible only with the excellent collaboration of Auckland Regional Council, North Shore City Council and Auckland City Council. We are very grateful for the work they have done. We also appreciate the efforts of Transfund New Zealand in helping us work through the implications for this project of the Land Transport Management Act,” he says.

“We are delighted that Transfund has approved the $180M to construct the busway,” Mr McDonald says.

“It will play a central role in a regional rapid transit system that will make public transport both a reliable and desirable transport option. The busway will also provide an alternative to car travel and give people an option to bypass traffic congestion on the motorway network.”

Mr McDonald says he expects initial contracts to be let later this year for construction to begin in the coming summer. Completion of the busway is scheduled for the last quarter of 2007. Two busway stations – Albany and Constellation are already under construction and will open next year – while the other three - Sunnynook, Westlake and Akoranga – will be completed in 2007.

The Northern Busway, he explains, will form the central spine of North Shore City’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system – a train system on rubber wheels – with interconnecting services within the city linking to the high frequency busway services and its stations.

“In line with highest international standards, the stations have been designed to meet the needs of the modern commuter. They will provide up to the minute travel information, and other facilities within a comfortable, sheltered and safe environment.”

The busway proper will comprise a 7.3km section of two-way roadway for buses, which will run parallel to the Northern motorway on the eastern side between Constellation Drive and Esmonde Road and a further 1.2km single-lane running southbound from Esmonde Road to the Harbour Bridge. Buses will use the existing lane 1 of the bridge and move into a bus priority system in the Auckland CBD, feeding into the uptown area and the Britomart transport interchange.

The five busway stations will cater for passengers arriving by bus and by car, as well as on foot and by bike. Passengers will also be able to transfer between bus routes at stations. Each station will have ‘kiss and ride’ (drop-off passengers to catch a bus) facilities, and Constellation Drive and Albany stations will have park and ride areas.

“Each of the stations will serve an important catchment area, providing links between residential and employment, as well as the hospital and education precincts from Albany in the north to Akoranga/AUT in the south.” The station locations will encourage bus use as they will be direct and convenient for many people," says Mr McDonald.

The Northern Busway infrastructure of busway and stations, together with bus priority measures on the local roading network, will allow a total re-design of bus services and routes in North Shore City, which will be complemented by a re-routing of North Shore buses within the Auckland CBD. These changes will provide improved passenger transport services both within North Shore City and over the Harbour Bridge to central Auckland. In peak times, buses are expected to run every five minutes along the busway together with the express services. In the morning peak hours there will be up to 100 buses an hour crossing the Harbour Bridge. The busway will assist new ‘express services’ that will start at local centres and enter the busway for a congestion free journey.

The busway project is being developed in partnership between Transit, North Shore City Council, the Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council.

In conjunction with the busway project, there are two related motorway interchange upgrading projects:

- The $36M Esmonde Road interchange upgrade project is being undertaken by Transit in conjunction with North Shore City's upgrade of local approach roads. It will enable northbound buses to access the busway at the Akoranga Station. It will also enable a much wider range of traffic movements at the interchange. Enabling work has already started with main work to begin in the summer.

- The Onewa Road Interchange upgrade is ‘stage two’ of the busway project. The upgrade will improve southbound access to the motorway, by giving separate bus and general vehicle access onto the motorway from Onewa Road. This project is scheduled for completion in 2008/09.

For more information visit www.busway.co.nz
You can download the map of the Busway at the end of this media release. www.transit.govt.nz

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