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Christmas Cheer For City Centre As CRL Transforms Victoria Street

Karakia rang out across the dawn sky in Tāmaki Makaurau’s city centre this morning as City Rail Link (CRL), the project’s delivery partner Link Alliance, and mana whenua marked the opening of new and improved public space around the Victoria and Albert Street intersections in time for the Christmas holiday period.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei representatives from CRL’s Mana Whenua Forum acknowledged the extensive work above and below Victoria and Albert Streets to deliver bigger and better spaces for pedestrians and city centre dwellers.

At the heart of midtown’s regeneration, CRL construction over the past few years on Victoria Street has involved diverting pre-existing utilities like gas, water and communications away from the station footprint; constructing 20-metre-deep piled station walls and the concrete roof; removing thousands of truckloads of dirt and building three public entrances to the new underground station.

CRL’s transformation delivers wider and upgraded footpaths with more space for the thousands of commuters expected to use the station every day. 1200 square metres of new paving, new LED streetlights and traffic lights will be joined next year by street furniture and trees to replenish the urban ngahere.

City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney, thanked Aucklanders and those living and working around the Te Waihorotiu site for their patience and support during the streetscape works.

“Taking up space in the city centre including closing roads, is one of the many challenges we face building a huge and complex project like CRL in the middle of a city and that support plays a very welcome and very critical role in getting our work done successfully, quickly and safely.

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“We’re delighted with this early ‘Christmas gift’ of new places and spaces for the city centre, just in time for the busy shopping and holiday season - it’s another very important step in the journey to deliver Te Waihorotiu Station and to help make the city centre a modern and dynamic destination,” Dr Sweeney says.

Two hundred metres of heritage bluestone salvaged from the area line Victoria Street between Albert and Federal Street. Eagle-eyed pedestrians will notice three subtly different shades of grey pavers surrounding each of the Te Waihorotiu Station entrances. These shades and their pattern are unique to Te Waihorotiu Station and allude to Waihorotiu Stream which runs through the city centre. The pavers integrate with existing paving in the city centre for a seamless experience.

Auckland Council’s Director Infrastructure & Environmental Services, Barry Potter says the opening up of the area has come at the perfect time with the summer period and encourages people to come and see the change for themselves and enjoy what the diverse businesses in the area have to offer.

“The pace of change along Victoria St over the last couple of months has been incredible. I strongly urge people to come and check it out. We’re now seeing the beautiful urban environment emerge that Aucklanders can already enjoy now, and which even more Aucklanders will enjoy in the years to come once the station opens. Congratulations to the City Rail Link team on yet another major milestone,” he says.

Auckland Council will complete the next phase of its Te Hā Noa project - the footpath upgrade works on the northern side all the way down to Queen St – within the next few months, before work begins on the southern side.

As well as opening new spaces for shoppers to wander through from late next week, the road will be re-opened to improve local access to the area. Drivers will be able to travel east on Victoria Street West as far as the Albert Street intersection and turn into Albert Street southbound. By Christmas, people will be able to drive either east or west on Victoria Street West through the Albert Street intersection.

Albert Street northbound, meanwhile, remains closed to road traffic from the intersection for final streetscape reinstatements in this area.

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