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Eastern transport corridor progresses

Eastern transport corridor progresses

Auckland City’s Transport Committee made significant decisions on the proposed eastern transport corridor at its meeting yesterday.

The Transport Committee has discarded the Parnell Tunnel option, opting to progress further work on the Hobson Bay crossing. Reasons given for the decision include the estimated additional cost of between $500 and $600 million, disruption to residential communities, impact on the local road network, lower transport benefits and the higher risks associated with the proposed tunnel and gyratory in Grafton Gully.

The committee has not accepted the Hobson Bay crossing in a form proposed by Opus International Consultants, which included many lanes in front of Parnell Baths.

Transport Committee chairperson, Councillor Greg McKeown says that ongoing work will now look at downscaled options and staging.

“We will not be proceeding to more detailed work, including scheme assessment and further assessment of environmental effects, until the Transport Committee has approved the revised scale and form for key parts of the corridor,” says Mr McKeown.

The committee received advice that staging of modes and physical works was important to the development of the corridor. The committee also supported retaining flexibility with regard to future use along key parts of the corridor.

“We are proceeding carefully to ensure we make sensible decisions that allow for Auckland’s growth well into the future. “The eastern transport corridor fits within the regional transport framework. We will be seeking a commitment from the Auckland Regional Council and ARTA for increased rail services with complementary bus services to support the corridor,” says Mr McKeown.

Opus and council officers are working on a proposed first stage, which includes new roading and public transport in the eastern suburbs of Glen Innes, Panmure, Pakuranga and Waipuna.

“We are taking full account of land use, community development, and the changing economy of this area, while at the same time addressing some existing transport problems and building infrastructure that will serve the area well into the future,” says Mr McKeown.

A report on the corridor’s function, form, funding, scale, and staging will be presented to Auckland City’s Transport Committee in August.

All recommendations made to the committee must reflect Auckland City’s transport, land use, urban design, economic policies and the regional rail business plan.

The meeting followed Monday’s extended public forum where 46 business and community groups, transport user representatives, urban designers, environmental planning professionals and individuals presented their views to the committee.

Yesterday’s committee meeting was the first time Auckland City has commented on Opus International’s report released in March.

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