SH20 $1.15 billion route option decision close
AUCKLAND BUSINESS FORUM
Motorway Network Completion by 2011 Rugby World Cup Opening Day
13 December 2005
Auckland City Council encouraged to support Transit New Zealand’s $1.15 billion SH20 Avondale ‘Western Ring Route’ Waterview Option
The Auckland Business Forum is anticipating a positive decision by Auckland City Council this Thursday to endorse the $1.15 billion Waterview option for completing the SH20 Avondale section of the ‘Western Ring Route.’
The 5km section of motorway is the largest and most ambitious construction project in Auckland since the Harbour Bridge in the 1960s.
Michael Barnett, chairman of the Auckland Business Forum, said that a positive decision by Auckland City will give Auckland and the wider region something real to celebrate as we head towards Christmas, the New Year and start of the work needed to get Auckland in to shape for hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
Given that a western ring route linking the SH1 southern motorway at Manukau City with the SH1 northern motorway at Greenhithe on the North Shore via SH16 Northwestern and SH18 Upper Harbour motorways has featured on transport plans for more than 30 years, and that Transit has had a preferred option on the Avondale link since 2003, Thursday’s decision by Auckland City Council is looming as one of its most important and historic this century,” said Mr Barnett. “A non-decision or rejection is unthinkable.”
In 2003 two routes were short-listed – Rosebank and Waterview
The Rosebank option traverses the Motu Marawa Marine Reserve parallel to Rosebank Rd to join the SH16 Northwestern Motorway near Te Atatu Peninsula, and is costed by Transit at $1.55 billion.
However, the Waterview option favoured by Transit is $400 million cheaper and runs parallel to the Great North Road to join the Northwestern Motorway at Waterview. Other clear benefits of the Waterview option are that it avoids the Marine Reserve and gives Harbour Bridge traffic wanting to avoid the Auckland CBD an alternative to Spaghetti Junction, especially for trips between southern suburbs of North Shore City and Manukau City and the Airport.
Auckland City ratepayers will also benefit by a reduction of North Shore – Manukau through traffic using city streets such as Gillies Ave and Pah Rd.
A traffic assessment indicates that if the Avondale section is built to join the Northwestern Motorway at Waterview around 20,000 vehicles a day that currently use Spaghetti Junction and exit or enter the southern motorway at Gillies Ave or Greenlane to head towards Onehunga and the Airport will have a faster motorway alternative via the Northwestern and Western Ring Route.
The main environmental issue with the Waterview option is the potential impact on Oakley Creek. However, the Forum understands that Auckland City is proposing to require Transit to meet some tough mitigation standards, including replacing an existing culvert with a bridge that will restore a long buried section of Oakley Creek.
As well as a motorway, the project will embrace bus-, cycle- and walk-ways.
Until the recent start on the SH20 Mt Roskill and SH18 Upper Harbour sections there had been no construction this century on the long-planned western ring route, despite undisputed Australian-based research showing that the economic benefit from completing the corridor will generate an additional $830 million GDP growth a year.
Social benefits include improved local traffic conditions in many suburbs, potential for better bus and freight delivery options and lots of jobs during construction.
“Business and other groups are justifiably delighted that Transit and Government is agreeing that after years of slippage on published timetables, what is now needed is a published work programme and time line with credible completion dates and funding sources that can be used to accelerate these projects,” said Mr Barnett. “We hope to see both unveiled shortly.”
“Meanwhile a positive City decision on Avondale will be a stake in the ground, around which Transit can plan and seek the funding for a programme to complete the missing sections of the full corridor as a single rolling project,” he suggested.
A firm Avondale decision will also enable Transit to keep to its published timeline to appoint a lead designer and prepare a notice of requirement by mid-2006. Transit’s latest start-finish date for the massive project has construction starting in 2009 and the motorway being opened in 2014.
“Getting the Avondale route confirmed and bringing forward the timeline for the other unfinished sections – especially the widening of Mangere Bridge – to get as much of the network completed ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup is a no brainer,” said Mr Barnett.