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Mayor Calls for Fast Track on Victoria Park Tunnel

MEDIA RELEASE
9 May 2005


Mayor calls for fast track on tunnel under Victoria Park

The Mayor of Auckland, Dick Hubbard, will meet with Transit New Zealand officials as soon as possible urging them to fast track a tunnel under Victoria Park to address congestion problems at a notorious bottleneck.

Mr Hubbard will reinforce his council’s stance to support a tunnelling option under the park, a move he says will allow higher volumes of traffic north and south on State Highway 1 (SH 1), reduce traffic through CBD streets while preserving Victoria Park, one of Auckland’s iconic open spaces.

At a meeting of the Transport and Urban Linkages Committee this morning, there was unanimous agreement to speed up completion of the SH 1 Harbour Bridge to City (HBTC) tunnelling project.

“It is crucial we have action on this project as soon as possible so that it complements the major Central Motorway Junction works due for completion at the end of 2006,” Mr Hubbard said.

“Widening the current road and viaduct is unacceptable – we want minimum disruption to our residents and we want to preserve one of our most precious parks.”

Transit New Zealand had identified a number of options across Victoria Park which included widening the current viaduct (by an additional 10m) but in December 2004 presented city councillors with its preferred option of a northbound tunnel and retention of the existing viaduct for southbound traffic. However, in March 2005 Transit New Zealand indicated they would be reviewing previous HBTC studies before making their decision.

Transport and Urban Linkages Committee members also pushed for the investigation of north bound and southbound bus lanes through St Mary’s Bay to link with the planned Northern Busway at the meeting.

The committee agreed that the project be co-ordinated with Auckland City’s CBD Into The Future project particularly the development of the Victoria quarter plan including the proposed plan change and the redevelopment of Wynard Wharf.

“We strongly support the tunnelling option for Transit’s Harbour Bridge to City project,” says Councillor Richard Simpson, the committee’s chairperson.

“To create a city designed for people, is it necessary to develop infrastructure around the needs of people. We are working to ensure this happens.

“We want Auckland to remain a city for the people, by providing seamless access to the waterfront and retaining space to play such as Victoria Park,” says Mr Simpson.

The council has made a commitment to work closely with Transit New Zealand to allow it to complete its 10-year roading plan, which includes completing SH 1 improvements and an improved design for the HBTC developments.

Ends

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