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“Yes” To Harbour Tunnel Without Delay

24 November 2004

“Yes” To Harbour Tunnel Without Delay, But In The Right Place.

Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, said the huge growth of business traffic that is occurring between rapidly expanding commercial centres on the North Shore, east and south Auckland, is giving some urgency to the case for the region to develop an alternative option for getting across Waitemata Harbour.

“We need to apply our minds to a far sighted proposal that integrates a crossing, probably a tunnel, with the rest of the network and with capability to meet future public transport needs,” said Mr Barnett.

He was responding to Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard’s support at a Business Leaders’ breakfast for a tunnel under the Waitemata Habour to provide a strategic option to the Harbour Bridge.

Transit New Zealand has undertaken an engineering feasibility of two options, a crossing close to the existing bridge and another further east.

“What is clearly now needed is a full transport feasibility for a third crossing that assumes the currently agreed basic network has been built,” said Mr Barnett.

“Let’s use the opportunity to do a proper job. The first bridge built in the 1960’s soon needed “clip on” lanes to meet demand; we are widening the southern motorway before we have built the rest of the planned network, and in particular the western bypass. The eastern corridor is in limbo.

“A third harbour crossing ‘makes sense’ only if integrated with a transport vision for Auckland’s growth needs for the next century and beyond,” he concluded.

ENDS

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