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East-West Link – Urban RONS proposed for Manukau Harbour

30 January 2014

East-West Link – Urban RONS proposed for northern foreshore of Manukau Harbour

The Auckland Business Forum strongly endorses the decision to focus the East-West Link project on improved connections for freight in Auckland’s industrial hub of Onehunga, Penrose and Southdown.

“Auckland needs a full solution with an efficient and safe new road between SH1 and SH20 that eliminates traffic lights and intersections for trucks, avoids community severance and has a minimal impact on the industrial zoned land in the area,” said Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Mr Barnett

“A partial solution is not acceptable,” he said. Given the national significance to the economy of the activity in the area, funding concerns should not restrict the design, consenting and construction by NZTA in an urban “Road of National Significance” (RONS) basket.

“We need a complete solution covering freight as well as cars and buses and which can be consented and built by 2021 or earlier.”

This is in line with Prime Minister John Key’s confirmation last June that resolving the transport problems in this part of Auckland will be the Government’s next major focus for the Auckland transport network.

Other key requirements include:
• At the western end – an upgraded Gloucester Park interchange with SH20 at Onehunga to eliminate heavy trucks having to enter the Onehunga retail area and local streets – Neilson, Onehunga Mall and nearby rail overbridge, Selwyn St, and Gloucester Rd;
• At the eastern end - a full road interchange with SH1 adjacent to Mt Wellington that provides efficient, safe on-off south and north facing ramps;
• Efficient connections to freight transport and distribution businesses located in the Southdown area, including along Great South Rd towards Penrose and Otahuhu;
• Supports an east-west bus service and safe cycleway that is separate from heavy road traffic.
• Protects the need to connect to AMETI and Highbrook, either as part of the project or in the future.

“To meet these requirements we suggest the best solution to date is a new road built along the northern shoreline of Manukau Harbour and which then cuts inland to link with the Southern motorway. This option avoids community severance and taking up valuable industrial land in a business growth area of Auckland that needs more land not less.”

The Onehunga, Southdown, Penrose area generates around 18% of Auckland’s GDP, is Auckland’s second highest area for employment and predicted to see a big increase in heavy truck access as the Auckland economy grows.

A number of freight companies are working on plans to expand facilities in the Southdown area – to take advantage of the multi-modal distribution services for long haul inter-provincial rail and road freight trips and anticipating improved transport infrastructure.

“The bottom line has to be a total solution, and in which taking land is not an option unless it is replaced with land of equivalent area and zoning,” concluded Mr Barnett.

The Auckland Business Forum comprises Auckland’s major business and transport organisations including Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Employers & Manufacturers (Northern), Auckland Airport, Ports of Auckland, New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development, New Zealand Automobile Association (Auckland District), National Road Carriers Association, New Zealand Contractors Federation. Forum members are responsible for provision of about 400,000 jobs and generating a third of New Zealand’s GDP, including handling of about half the nation’s exports and imports through Ports of Auckland and Auckland Airport.

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