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North Shore City Council Urged to Push Transport

Media Release

26 May 2005

North Shore City Council Urged to “Push Harder” for Vital Transport Projects to Be Completed Faster

The pace of progress and management of two major transport projects of vital importance to the future of North Shore’s prosperity and quality of living were challenged by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce in its submission to the North Shore City Council draft annual plan.

Chief executive Michael Barnett noted that the plan provides for the Council to participate in:
3rd harbour crossing investigations; and,
The Harbour Bridge to Auckland City project to eliminate the bottleneck at the Victoria Park flyover.

“Everyone is on side for these projects, but where is the action?”

Early last year, the Auckland Regional Council approved the setting of a 3rd harbour crossing investigation team to be led by Transit NZ and including representatives from the ARC, Auckland City as well as North Shore City.

A year later, the project team has still not been established – “Given Auckland’s transport crisis, that’s of extreme concern and completely unacceptable,” said Mr Barnett.

It’s a similar situation on the harbour bridge to city project.

Late last year, Transit NZ formalized support for a northbound tunnel to be built under Victoria Park to improve traffic congestion on the viaduct by allowing all four lanes to be used for southbound traffic.

Checks by the Chamber at the time indicated that both Auckland and North Shore cities agreed that a tunnel is the preferred option.

“Whether it should be a half or full tunnel that replaces the viaduct completely is still unclear.

“But of greater concern is the lack of progress to form a project team comprising the key players – Transit, North Shore and Auckland cities, ARC and ARTA – and set in place an agreed work programme and budget.”

The current time frame for improving the Victoria Park viaduct bottleneck is nearly 10 years away and a 3rd harbour crossing around 20-to-25 years – well into the century.

“These timelines are totally unacceptable. Similar projects elsewhere – notably Sydney in the past 10 years – are being designed, funded and built in half the time.”

In our view, the time has arrived for the region’s Councils, Transit and ARC-ARTA to:

Publish the full work programmes, budgets and timelines for completing the region’s agreed strategic roading and public transport projects; and,
Put in place a transparent, accountable monitoring group to ensure milestones are achieved on time and within budget – with questions asked if progress is delayed and congratulations offered for faster progress.

“It is simply unacceptable that our City and region is carrying the can in the huge additional cost of doing business and frustration of the rest of the community from our lack of ability to get organized to build these projects in a professional and business-like way.”

ENDS

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