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Waitakere hopes rail investment also underground

Waitakere hopes rail investment includes undergrounding at New Lynn

Waitakere City Council hopes that taking the western railway line underground at New Lynn is included in the projects to benefit from the Government’s commitment to invest heavily in the Auckland railway system.

“It is good news all round. Double tracking offers enormous benefits to the region but these will be compromised if the undergrounding doesn’t happen at New Lynn,” says Councillor Penny Hulse, Chair of Waitakere City Council’s City Development Committee.

Cr Hulse was commenting on the Government announcement yesterday that it will invest between $450 million and $600 in Auckland rail projects. The projects include further double tracking of the Western Line from Henderson to Swanson.

Undergrounding of the railway at New Lynn wasn’t mentioned in the announcement.

“The whole point of all this rail investment is to get commuter vehicles off roads to allow commercial traffic to flow more freely region-wide. That can’t happen fully, however, if commercial traffic is held up by twice as many trains using level crossings in New Lynn,” Councillor Hulse says.

“The only logical long term solution - that benefits the whole region - is to take the railway underground so that commercial traffic can flow easily across the surface.

“If we don’t achieve that, the surrounding motorways including State Highway 20, will not work as they are supposed to – which would be a lot of public money wasted,” she says.

New Lynn Councillor Derek Battersby agrees.

“New Lynn is a vital centre in regional plans to manage future growth. The region needs both the population and the business and employment sector to double at New Lynn, over the next several decades – and that is what we are working to achieve,” he says.

“But New Lynn can only reach its full potential if the undergrounding happens – and it should happen at the same time as the double-tracking, otherwise the tax payer will pay twice, “Councillor Battersby says.

Waitakere City Council is working with ARTA and On Track to complete the rail development, including the undergrounding.

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