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Modified Corridor plan is buildable

25 August 2004

Modified Eastern Transport Corridor plan is buildable

Opus International Consultants has delivered to the Eastern Transport Corridor Steering Group an interim report on a modified scheme for the corridor project.

The new scheme has a significantly lower cost than the previous scheme – 60 per cent lower cost – while maintaining 75 per cent of the overall traffic benefits.

The total cost of the Opus Modified Scheme is between $1.1 and $1.4 billion, excluding the Allen’s Road option ($400 million), recommended to be a separate project.

The Opus report is preliminary and has not yet been considered by the project partners - Auckland City Council, Manukau City Council and Transit NZ. The public transport aims of the project are to have complementary bus and rail services along the corridor. However, that cannot be delivered to its full extent without the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and the new transport organization, Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), taking responsibility for the public transport component of the Eastern Transport Corridor (ETC).

Under the modified scheme public transport will still be assisted by relieving congestion on roads to improve movement of buses. Space will also be made for a possible third line. There are some dedicated local bus priority measures to help buses though busy intersections in the modified scheme but direction is needed from ARTA before plans for anything more than this can be fully developed. ARTA will the agency responsible for funding and planning public transport in the region.

Many of the economic benefits identified in the BERL reports on the corridor will still apply to the modified scheme.

Of the total cost roughly one-third falls within Manukau City and two-thirds within Auckland City.

Land needed for the project accounts for 20 per cent of the project’s cost. The modified scheme will impact 260 properties, rather than the 1270 of the previous Opus Recommended Option.

The next step for the ETC project is for the steering group to become familiar with the report and then make recommendations to the transport committees of both councils and the board of Transit NZ.

The modified scheme generally follows the same alignment of the previous Opus Recommended Option from Tamaki Drive to Mt Wellington. However, in Mt Wellington and in Manukau City the modified scheme is different from the previous scheme in that some existing roads are used instead of creating a single high capacity high-speed corridor.

The modified scheme does not include high capacity connections to the Auckland Motorway system at Mt Wellington or Grafton Gully.

The modified scheme includes: a grade separated connection to Tamaki Drive in the area of the Outboard Boating Club one lane in each direction plus shoulders across Hobson Bay two lanes in each direction from Orakei to Mt Wellington upgrading of the Mt Wellington Highway widening, safety and intersection improvements along Waipuna Road grade separation of Pakuranga by way of the Reeves Road overbridge grade separation of the Gossamer Drive and Ti Rakau Drive intersection.

The following are worthy of exploration as a separate project to the rest of the ETC works: widening, safety and intersection improvements along Carbine Road grade separation of the Carbine Road and south Eastern Highway interchange (as part of the Allen’s Road option) a new Tamaki River crossing between Highbrook and Mt Wellington via an Allen’s link road (as part of the Allen’s Road option) a new Panama Road link connecting the new Allen’s Tamaki River Crossing Bridge and Mt Wellington Highway (part of the Allen’s Road option) widening of Highbrook Avenue, Allen’s Road and Smales Road (part of the Allen’s Road option).

Other enhancements are also being recommended such as trenching through Glen Innes to allow greater connectivity for that community and modifications at Reeves Road. The cost for the Glen Innes trenching is included in the $1.1 – 1.4 billion cost.

The Opus Modified Scheme Report for the ETC can be viewed at selected Auckland City and Manukau City public libraries or on the ETC pages at the Auckland City Council website www.aucklandcity.govt.nz.

ENDS

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