First Steps In Demolishing Khyber Pass Rail Bridge
27 November 2008
First Steps in Demolishing Khyber Pass Rd rail bridge for rail upgrade
ONTRACK today enlisted the help of Auckland City’s mayor, John Banks to mark the start of a key element of its Project DART upgrade of Auckland’s rail network.
Work is just starting on the duplication of the western line between Newmarket and Boston Rd.
One of the more visible elements in the works is the rebuilding of the Khyber Pass Rd and Park Rd rail overbridges to accommodate the second track, a new rail station beneath it and the overhead wires that will be needed for electrification of the rail network.
Today Mayor Banks took the first steps in demolishing the bridge.
Acting chief executive of the New Zealand Railways Corporation, William Peet says the DART project, when completed will enable rail to play a more significant role in public transport.
“With more people using trains and buses and fewer in cars, we will all get around better. However in this case we have had to make things temporarily worse for a period.”
Khyber Pass Rd has more than 30,000 vehicle movements a day and Park Rd 15,000. Together they provide one of the main accesses into Auckland Hospital and Starship, and Auckland Domain.
The works have been carefully thought through so traffic disruption is minimised, Mr Peet says.
“We carried out extensive modelling and worked closely with Auckland City Council to develop the traffic management plan and the decision was made to work on both at the same time was made to shorten the overall duration of the works.”
The railway line beneath the bridges was opened in 1881 and linked the existing North South Line with the North Auckland line already been built further west. It is largely unchanged today, running through a narrow cutting between the two bridges hewn out of volcanic basalt – the result of three separate volcanic flows.
The bridges need to be rebuilt to widen that cutting to accommodate the second track, a new station and the overhead infrastructure needed for electrification
The existing Boston Rd station will be moved from its current gloomy setting beneath the motorway to the area between the two bridges, bringing it closer to Auckland Domain, Auckland Hospital, University of Auckland, and any future developments by AMP on the Lion Breweries site.
The new rail developments will also help to maximise the benefits of the council's Central Connector busway which is due for completion in early 2010. The Central Connector will make bus travel easier and faster for 65,000 passengers each week day between downtown Auckland and Newmarket. The rail initiatives will ensure the busway connects passengers to the rail network for travel to other parts of the region.