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Downscaled corridor will remove much angst

Joint Media Release

Hon John Banks QSO Mayor of Auckland City

Sir Barry Curtis Mayor of Manukau City

25 August 2004

Downscaled corridor will remove much angst

“The project moves on. What we have got now is getting close to what is going to be reality. The people of Auckland will be pleasantly surprised,” said the mayor of Auckland City, Hon John Banks.

At a joint media conference today Mr Banks and Manukau City Mayor Sir Barry Curtis said the modified Eastern Transport Corridor presented by Opus International Consultants would cost considerably less than the previous Opus proposal but will offer about 75 per cent of the traffic benefits.

With the downscaled Eastern Transport Corridor now estimated to cost approximately $1.2 billion, Mr Banks said the latest proposal is sound, sensible, and definitely fundable.

The mayors revealed computerised images of what the downscaled corridor would look like, with particular focus across Hobson Bay. Mr Banks said the images were impressive and would silence the scaremongers who had been talking up the prospect of 10 lanes or more.

“Once this latest Opus report is digested I would say 80 per cent of the angst will go from the Eastern Transport Corridor project. It really is a great shift in terms of where we have come. What the detractors have been peddling for Hobson Bay was never going to happen. Having said this, we make no apology for Opus putting all the options on the table.”

Mr Banks said proposals of this nature were required by law to investigate all possible options before a decision was made on the preferred one.

Opus believes the roading component should consist of four lanes from Manukau to the bottom of Purewa Creek. Two lanes plus shoulders (and rail) should traverse Hobson Bay. Mr Banks said limiting the road across Hobson Bay would give the rail upgrade every chance to be successful. At the same time it would remove freight and significant commuter traffic off local roads, like Kepa, Orakei, Shore and Gladstone.

Mr Banks said the modified corridor would be better for the environment and will create traffic demand management (TDM) opportunities. The Glen Innes section will be strengthened by a 350 metre cut and cover ‘tunnel,’ which could be built on and leased back to cover some of the costs.

Important decisions have already been made on the route of the 27 kilometre-long Eastern Transport Corridor. Earlier this month, the designated land, mostly owned by council and Transit, had its protection period extended by another 10 years.

Mr Banks said the downscaled corridor meant the number of private properties required had substantially reduced.

“What has been achieved is more progress on the Eastern Transport Corridor these last three years than in its 70-year history. Moving Auckland forward and fixing our economic infrastructure is what my mayoralty is all about,” said Mr Banks.

Sir Barry said Manukau City Council has not yet finalised the route the corridor will take within its city boundaries.

“It is still examining further the comparative benefits of two alternative routes: firstly via Ti Rakau Drive in Pakuranga, and secondly via Allens Road in East Tamaki across the Tamaki River to Mt Wellington. The council is looking at the implications of all options including choosing one or both alternatives. A final decision will be made in February,” said Sir Barry. The media conference followed Opus International Consultants presenting their modified scheme to the Eastern Transport Corridor Steering Group this morning.

ENDS

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