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Ellerslie-Panmure Bridge opened

Yesterday I headed out to Panmure for the opening of the new Ellerslie-Panmure bridge as well as to see what progress had been made on the upgraded station. What was interesting is that Transport minister Gerry Brownlee attended to officially open the bridge which was odd as he hasn’t been present at any other recent events like the opening of the Wiri depot. AT Chairman Lester Levy, Len Brown and Gerry Brownlee all spoke at the opening with enough smoke blown in Gerry’s direction by Len those present were lucky not to choke to death. On Sunday cars and trucks will be able to start using the new bridge with the bridge they are currently using eventually becoming part of the new AMETI busway. Here is the press release from Auckland Transport today.

A major milestone in the first phase of the $1.5 billion Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) has opened three months ahead of schedule.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, Mayor Len Brown and Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy have cut the ribbon on the traffic bridge, a key part of the first phase of AMETI.

Since the old Ellerslie-Panmure Highway bridge was demolished during the Christmas period, traffic has been temporarily using a new bridge built for a future busway. From Sunday 4 August, traffic will be redirected onto the new bridge which runs from Panmure Roundabout to Forge Way.

The current AMETI construction also includes a new Panmure Station building and upgrade, a 1.5km north-south road, a 220m tunnel next to the station for the new road, improvements to Van Damm’s Lagoon reserve, cycle lanes and footpath improvements.

Mayor Len Brown says AMETI will unclog Auckland’s east by providing better transport choices and will create jobs by unlocking the area’s economic potential.

“Phase one will have benefits for both the Panmure community and people travelling to, from and through that part of Auckland,” says Mr Brown.

“Phase two of the project will unlock further benefits for transport in the area once the Panmure roundabout is removed and a busway from Panmure to Pakuranga town centre is built.”

Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy says AMETI is Auckland Transport’s largest construction project which on completion will see the delivery of the first major infrastructure in the area for a number of years.

“It’s fantastic to see this project taking shape and my congratulations go out to the AMETI team who have worked hard to get the bridge completed ahead of schedule. This major project will see an integrated approach to improving transport – with work on roads, public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure. When the new Panmure Station building is completed, commuters and residents will benefit from a much easier transfer between buses and trains.”

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says, “I’d like to offer my congratulations to Auckland Transport and Fletcher Construction for delivering this milestone for the first phase of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative. Improving the transport links in this economically important part of Auckland is the government’s next major focus for Auckland’s transport network.”

All three of the bridges scheduled as part of Phase One of AMETI are now complete and the roof is currently being built for the tunnel. The bridges have been built higher and longer to allow for rail electrification.

The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Council are major funders of AMETI.

And here are some images of the event.

EP Bridge Ribbon Cutting

Cutting a ribbon, is there anything a politician likes more?

The only time the bridge will be used for something other than vehicles? New Panmure station to the left

After the event I also took a look around to see how some of the other aspects of the project are going. Here is the new local road that is being built on top of the tunnel with the station building in the background.

Local Rd above Tunnel

Here you can see the station itself. The new shelters going in show that the platforms will be wider than they are now.

Panmure Station Aug 2013

There is apparently space for a third track down the side here.

Panmure Station Aug 2013 2

A bit of a plaza area at the Mountain Rd Bridge, as cars seem to be able to move through here alright, the orange barriers suggest that perhaps engineers could have pushed out the pedestrian area a little bit more.

Mountain Rd Plaza

Here is the new AMETI road under construction. It is still quite a way off yet.

AMETI Road under construction

And the tunnel which is underneath the local road shown earlier.

AMETI Road Tunnel under construction

Lastly, here is an image from Auckland Transport showing what the area should look like if you have a helicopter once everything is finished. You can quite clearly see the busway to the north of the road along with the intersection which will replace the current roundabount. I don’t know about you but all of the empty land (as a result of the current works), the car yards and the old factories and around the area look ripe for intensification. I hope the station was designed to be capped and built over

panmure-complete-artists-impression 1

67 comments to Ellerslie-Panmure Bridge opened

  • John Polkinghorne

    Yeah, not a lot of placemaking going on there, re: that last image.

    • Starnius

      Council plans exist for intensifiying that area with multi-storey mixed use – I have seen the images at open days. They probably just didn’t merge the traffic and the building images together.

    • TheBigWheel

      Right. It will be interesting to see what happens.. This is all up-scaled in the draft UP. Hopefully not into tilt-slab big box retail. Of course Panmure is all individually titled small lots in the town centre itself, would be great to see some continuity across to the new station, though there’s a heck of a lot of windswept tarseal to walk across to get there..

      The new station, internchange and busway are obviously improvements.. but one net result of the AMETI project is yet more urban green field and brown field turned into roads. You can see clearly from the last image what the planners consider the main purpose of this part of town is.. a traffic sewer. And the new north south road just funnels yet more cars more quickly onto the suburban roads and rat runs into the city, fuelling more pressure for the eastern motorway.

      Besides the last image gives me a feeling of injustice. When you consider the acres of space that even this blog has dedicated to debating issues like Skypath with the St Mary’s Bay RA, so as not to offend the rich locals, you see this and you think, who’s standing up for Panmure and the surrounding suburbs? Remember the two Tamaki bridges have more traffic than the harbour bridge. And you can see well from the picture where much of it goes.

      So what do they get to look forward to in the next 30 years.. or the commuters of east auckland? $ 5 bn tunnel? Trams? Light Rail? a busway and a cycle track.. but only if we knock down dozens of houses (Pakuranga) and build yet more roads. Even the ATB doesn’t propose anything more.

      The big splash about the CFN is fantastic. But let’s have some balance too please.

      • Starnius

        Last I saw, the CFN proposes a busway to Howick (in addition to the one already planned to Botany), and a connecting busway from Botany to Manukau City Centre?

        I see your concern regarding the devil’s alternative that at the moment, Eastern Auckland is only getting PT where it is “balanced” by new roads like the Reeves Road Flyover. But I don’t have an easy answer to that. In the short term, it WOULD be political suicide for anyone to propose downgrading roads like Pakuranga Road when actually building busway/rail alternatives will take many years yet – let alone shift the political attitude of East Aucklanders in favour of better PT.

      • Greg N

        “you see this and you think, who’s standing up for Panmure and the surrounding suburbs? ”

        Well for starters the Panmure Community Action Group campaigned for years (since at least 1995) to have the old ACC do something sensible with their intensification plans and to protect view shafts to Mt Wellington along Pilkington Road and not just put yet another traffic monster solution for more cars.

        But due to the fact that Panmure was the southern boundary of the old Auckland City and the Manukau City Council for years (yep, even when Len was mayor there) paid lip service to doing anything practical for PT other than put a designation down Te Irirangi Drive – there was no chance in hell that Councils (either ACC, MCC, or AC/AT) was going to listen and in any case all the Panmure traffic mostly came from over the Tamaki River.

        In fact one of the last harrahs of the old ACC traffic planners was to ram this present design down the communities throat just before they all marched off to new jobs with AT – and AT happily picked up and ran with, even if the Manukau side of the project was still as up in the air as it was 10 years ago.

        In fact you can say is that the Panmure station and AMETI link road running under that new bridge are years ahead of the rest of the plans.

        And just recently AT is only now doing final consulting on the Pakuranga and Botany busways – which will feed into Panmure station big time when they are built.

        So Panmure station and related environs will be a PT white elephant for some time until they sort out the shit on the south side of the two Panmure bridges.

        I think the juries is still out on Panmures future – and its a shame as Panmure has a lot going for it.

        • Probably Panmure should have been zoned a Metropolitan Centre instead of Syliva Park (which should have taken the General Business Zone class) to give it some more attention than it is getting now. Okay it wouldn’t need to go full bore at 18 storeys but it would have given the impression of a centre of actual importance to those who live nearby in Mt Wellington and Tamaki. Hmm seems even I still have my old Tamaki Urban Renewal assignment from my planning student days gathering dust in some box somewhere

      • I might think attention is soon going to be reverting to the eastern suburbs rather quickly rather soon. Someone did let mention in Twitter that Big Gerry was going to announce some project being brought forward. Looking at the releases I would be at a safe guess that might be the West-East freight link from Onehunga to AMETI and the East Tamaki industrial area. That will have an impact on the Eastern Suburbs and no doubt quite a bit of attention

        As for the rest of it well I’ll let history speak for itself and what the eastern suburbs missed in opportunities.

      • TheBigWheel – ummm we have proposed building the busway over a much faster time frame including a link from Botany to Manuaku and the Airport. We have also proposed a busway to Howick. We have also suggested scaling back on the East-West link

      • Big Wheel, with regards our CFN, it goes out to 2030, which is 16.5 years away. If we build this on top of the current changes then by this point the demand situation will be very different and I think much more ambitious plans will be much more possible for all parts of the city.

      • balance what? The CFN proposes busway to Botany completed by 2020. On the AT website says it won’t start past Pakuranga until at least 2021 and that is “dependent on funding”. Panmure patronage should boom as a result of the new network and this little busway section and interchange.
        Currently the express bus is timetabled at 30 minutes, and the normal at 47 minutes. The train is 18 minutes, and will improve by another couple with electrics.
        Currently there is a very awkward 5 min plus walk to interchange, now the bus will stop on top of the station.
        If that isn’t change I don’t know what is!

        • TheBigWheel

          The CFN proposals are certainly an improvement on ATs plans, which as you say Luke don’t even get going for eight years!!!

          ..nonetheless i still feel though that east Auckland is a bit of a Cinderella.. compare trams / light rail on Dominion Road to buses on Pakurange Highway, when the latter has six lanes rather than four.. and as I understand it, more people travelling in private cars so more potential for mode shift?

          Nothing against buses, but if we really want to change the car domination of east Auckland is it realistic to expect buses will do it, even with their own lanes and even with the new Panmure interchange. The change itself is still a hurdle that could put many potential PT users off. For whatever reason many people seem to prefer trams or trains.. and I have noted before, this anda other eastern route would be ideal for a tram-train dual mode vehicle.

          Hopefully the new bus bridge over Tamaki river and other structures are being designed and built to carry trams or light rail in the future, like the Northern Busway structures.. anyone know if that is the case??

          • Sailor Boy

            The Northern Busway sems to do a pretty good job of getting people out of their cars. Also, tram-trains prevents driverless operation, reducing the capacity of the entire network. Really needs to either be a spur line, or skytrain if you want rail.

          • TheBigWheel

            Three things..

            1. The NB as a busway is an interim measure, all the structures, curves and gradients have been designed for light rail. Why? Think about it! So.. is that the same for E Ak? Especially the new bus bridge over the Tamaki? If not why not?

            2. Driverless trains and full grade separation spunds fantastic in the very long term.. if ever. Depends on the business case. As far as I can tell LRT is not a realistic prospect on anyone’s radar screen for decades, least not in E Ak. Meanwhile, in Melbourne trams are well liked by users for reasonably long distances (akin to Botany to CBD) i.e. they achieve a lot of the customer benefits but at much lower capital light rail, because they don’t need a new, fully separated corridor. Trams don’t need to be as operationally efficient as LRT, they need to be better than buses. Here in Ak, once the CRL is built, the rail corridors (esp the eastern line) will have heaps of spare capacity for funnelling additional commuter traffic into the city. So you can run (relatively less efficient than LRT) trams along part of the route as trains (roughly as efficient) along the other part. Exploit the assets we have, or will have (underused rail corridor and new bus ways).. Rather than dream about elevated driverless sky trains.

            3. Finally, there’s another problem with E Ak.. The busway a planned now come at the cost of freer flowing, faster roads (new flyovers, fewer intersections, fewer pesky buses getting in the way) and brand new roads (AMETI north-south link road).. all of which will tend to encourage further reliance on private cars and thereby throttle demand for PT, especially I imagine if that involves buses and changing at Panmure.

          • Swan

            How are trams better than buses with the same right of way though? Don’t they have the same capacity? Buses are far more sensible IMO as they are most cost effective and get benefits from incremental additions to infrastructure.

          • TheBigWheel

            Lots of people dislike buses.. for whatever reason.
            And they can’t drive along the rail corridor at 100 kmh ;-)

          • Tram-trains will not happen in Auckland due to various reasons so no point comparing them with buses.

          • TheBigWheel

            Various reasons being..?

          • - First and foremost almost all tram systems are standard gauge, our rail lines are narrow gauge so the trams physically wouldn’t work on the rail network.
            – You could get around that by building narrow gauge trams but that would be a very specialised design and therefore cost a lot more.
            – Tram need to adhere to mainline crash standards as they would be sharing the tracks with heavy EMU’s and freight trains. That would make them a lot heavier than standard trams making them less efficient and potentially more costly to run. Also possible additional construction costs for the roadway to take the load.
            – The trams would also need adhere to the same loading gauge as the rail network which may be an issue (I don’t know).
            – Trams tend to have very low floors to enable level boarding from a kerb. That would rule them out from being able to stop at existing stations.
            – after the CRL we are likely to see substantial increases in services to the point where there are every few minutes on the various lines within the isthmus just to serve the existing network. There isn’t likely to be enough capacity on the rail network for all of these trams too.
            – the rail network will be run off 25kv AC which as far as I’m aware is far too much for any trams in use today. Doubt we would want that kind of infrastructure along the streets.

            I’m sure there are probably quite a few other reasons that others could add.

          • TheBigWheel

            Matt, that’s a list of vehicle spec issues that are all very, solvable (suggestions below). But it’s not really addressing my point.

            Behind my challenge is a question, which is what do customers want? That’s what this blog says it wants AT to consider. And what Lester says is AT’s priority.

            So.. what do commuters in E Ak want (those travelling into the CBD, CBD Fringe)? Today, we might well conclude they want to drive to work, on the basis that that’s what they do (most of them I suppose, without checking the stats). Then again, we might say there’s no choice, or limited choice, in that for many, their car wins in terms of convenience and/or time, compared to the only available alternative, i.e. buses. AMETI proposes improvements for both car and bus users.. it’s not clear to me how much of a mode shift will follow.

            The CFN proposes pulling the busway forward a few years, which is good, but come on, it only gets you to Panmure, not the city.. you can switch to rail there today. I don’t find this very convincing.. and the only other solution proposed here is a “sky train” ..also implicitly to Panmure? eh?! Plenty of people live out that way, but neither Howick not Panmure is London Docklands or down town Vancouver.

            Meanwhile, pressure builds for the eastern motorway…

            Maybe we’re better of leaving this to AT, if they’re serious about customer engagement, they’ll ask the people what they want and cost them up dispassionately.

            To your tram-train Qs..

            – there are trams (and all kinds of light rail vehicles) in Europe running on narrow gauge
            – narrow gauge vehicles may well cost more but this is incremental and in any event absolutely tiny compared to elevated skytrain infrastructure
            – ditto, and NZ road weight limits are generally higher than EU
            – should be a non problem, several systems already running in EU
            – drop down steps / ramps, not rocket science?
            – you can’t seriously be saying the eastern line is anywhere near capacity post CRL?! even after decades
            – one of the basic features of tram-trains is dual or triple power mode i.e. both 25kVac and 1kVdc (or 600Vdc or diesel etc) as well as dual signalling etc

          • swan

            Big Wheel,

            Most of the reasons trams are preferred to buses are actually to do with the corridor, not the vehicle type. The fact is the northern busway, incomplete as it is, shows Aucklanders care about the corridor and that buses with a good corridor are popular. (Onewa Road is another example of buses with a pretty good corridor being pretty popular).

            Tram trains sound very expensive. The whole point of the RTN and network model is to avoid duplication to enable higher frequencies. Running tram trains will effectively duplicate the rail effort. Where are people going to change to get into the city? Do you really think you can run tram trains into Britomart? If not then where are they going?

            I don’t see any issue with changing if it means higher frequencies (which all else being equal it will).

          • TheBigWheel

            Good point about the corridor swan, appreciate that. If buses on such routes are popular elsewhere then that’s encouraging.

            It’s the change to a trains that worries me. Even with 10 min transfer times at Panmure that’s still 20 mins per day. I don’t feel comfortable about the assumptions that this is what commuters want. Are these assumptions being tested? On the other hand I doubt that people (customers, ratepayers and residents generally) want the massive capital cost and physical imposition of driverless, elevated, sky trains running around.

            But, I do think we need to accelerate our efforts collectively towards a carbon neutral, efficient transit system and I that there needs to be much more work done to counter the inertia of the eastern motorway.

            So.. I’m just trying to propose wider options for rapid transit that might be attractive to users, by exploiting the benefits of the rail corridor without the considerable expense of a fully separated corridor in East Ak. To your question about Britomart, several cities in Europe run trams as trains on 25kVac rail, supplied by the major train builders.

            You could equally run off the rail agin in the city and revert to tram operation e.g. along Quay St..

          • Sailor Boy

            10 minute frequencies means 7.5 minutes a day.
            An average of 5 minutes waiting for the 10 minute frequency train, and an average of 2.5 waiting for the 5 minute frequency bus.
            I would really like to see a costing for tram trains. I think it would be comparable to elevated rail.
            Are there any cities in Europe with tram-trains, and freight trains running on the same TRACK? I don’t mean corridor I mean the same pieces of metal.

          • TheBigWheel

            If TTs cost the same or more than elevated rail they may still be worth considering.. depends on how you balance potentially faster overall travel times with a fully separated and maybe elevated sky train with the impact on the environment of the structure. My guess is that for a long journey say Botany to CBD there’s no comparison because half the route is there already (the eastern line). But I may be wrong.. and operating costs will weigh against TTs of course.

            Paris, Strasbourg and Stuttgart run TTs.. the same vehicles on both actual “main line” rails as well as tram rails in streetcar mode.

  • Again, a carpark between a new interchange station and the centre it services…. at least I suppose it’s just an at grade one this time and cant be developed along with all those other useless bits of leftover land. But will there be the economic imperative drive this?

    Criminal that the ROW for at least a third line wasn’t put in with this work, the cost of doing it now would be negligible. Kiwirail are reckless with their responsibilities anf their assets; this work is all happening on a rail designation.

    • Starnius

      Explain more, Patrick? I thought the designs DID leave the space for a 3rd track, and even the bridges were designed for it? Are you talking about the legal instrument for the third track?

      • They say there is ‘space’ for a third line, which is presumably that tiny gap in the 4th picture down to the left of the left hand stairs. Elsewhere on site it is very hard to identify a ROW, and it certainly isn’t formed at the next bridge [to the right of the station in the render]. On the other side existing track the double stacked highway is jammed up against the rail line, one concrete wall away. So the 3rd main is planned to run on the south side of the existing lines, the near side in their Sim-City render at the bottom of the post, no chance of a fourth without digging everything up..

        Everything I read about the port’s ambitions [tripling Container traffic in the years ahead], and everything I know about Grafton Gully [very very hard to stuff more 16 wheelers up there], add to that that AT plan to use the existing lines for increasing frequencies of passenger trains… then the need for at least one freight line here is absolute, and most likely two.

      • Greg N

        I can explain,
        While the third line is technically allowed for at the station, that bridge that the photos of the new station we taken from – photo #5 (in fact right underneath where the photographer was standingfor that photo) is where the third line will run – however they did not put a bridge span there for it, no they put the bridge abutment there, effectively blocking the third line at that bridge.
        This means that to build the third line requires months of disruption on the new Mountain Road bridge to move the abutment back and dig out the trench where it was to allow 3rd line to go.

        I guess this means that the 3rd line will never happen now.

        • Exactly, so while it is “future proofed” to allow for it, it is unlikely to be possible due to the amount of extra work involved. I bet it wouldn’t have cost that much to build everything then just leave it so the tracks just have to be laid later on.

          Mountain Rd will definitely need the abutment moved and a new span as you can see from this photo I took yesterday.

          • To be fair if they handn’t future proofed at all you’d be looking at just an abutment and not that beam and column structure. It’s a lot easier to add that extra span than if it hadn’t been allowed for.

            Future proofing is a pretty lose term that means more like “not precluding or making it really difficult”, it’s certainly not the same as “build it all in advance but not use it”.

          • Greg N

            Agreed Nick, but if you look carefully at your photo you will see no beams across to/through that abutment – in fact they only built half a bridge!
            If they had future proofed it, then those beams would be there to the left of the upright, holding up the bridge, rather than the abutment doing it as it is now.
            So it would be easy to remove the abutment, but as it stands that abutment and the bridge above have to be completely redone to add the 3rd rail.
            With as you point out months of disruption.

            I don’t know why AT accepted this position even if KR and NZTA did as its clearly only a half arsed solution.

        • It is completely disingenuous for the port company to be claiming [as they are] that there will be not landside transport consequences to it’s attempts to grow volumes radically at the downtown site. It does this in its submission to the Draft Unitary Plan where it wants the right to fill in much of the harbour to stack containers and park cars before shipping them to south Auckland. These plans are simply impossible without significant improvements to landside transport infrastructure and the least destructive of these for the city is to improve the volumes possible by rail between the port and the warehouses and factories of South Auckland. Especially during daylight hours when the noise is less disruptive.

          How is this possible without at least one dedicated line? And this will have to happen soon, and would be happening now if we did not have a government captured by the idea that our transport budget is only for subsidising the road freight industry.

          As can be seen in the image above there is little future proofing. Why is there an abutment here? Why isn’t it a couple of metres back, at least? Did Kiwi Rail, as they seem to have done at Dominion Rd say to NZTA, ‘ah doesn’t matter; let the kids pay triple for that later- I’ll be retired’

          Anyone know the story here? We’ed be interested to hear.

          • Patrick, it isn’t just this bridge or Dominion Rd either. The same thing has happened at Richardson Rd as well as many of the bridges along the Southern line that were rebuilt in the last couple of years for Electrification.

            I would like to know how much money is saved by doing this as the costs of going back and digging up Mountain Rd and disrupting vehicles, trains and pedestrians will like likely be massive.

          • KiwiRail built new bridges in 2009 at Homai and Manurewa with space for only two tracks as well, even though the third main was on the agenda.

            Also, they are planning to leave space for only three tracks beneath the Orakei Point development. A 4th track will never be built there if KiwiRail stick to their plan, as the place will be well and truely built over.

  • Ari

    That intersection looks horrendous. Though I suppose for pedestrians it is marginally better than the enormous roundabout.

    • Starnius

      Actually, it will be enormously better for pedestrians than the current roundabout. Currently, some directions across require crossing 4 (!) multi-lane roads, with no pedestrian priority or signals except way down the side streets.

      It will also be much, much better for cyclists – one of my coworkers rides through the thing twice daily, and he HATES the thing with a passion (has been knocked off once or twice, lightly sideswiped a few more by drivers who often didn’t even see him, and drivers have a habit of abusing cyclists verbally and with thrown garbage at this roundabout too, apparently.

      So yeah, can’t wait to see it go. The size is the price we pay for trying to build a busway but keep all directions open for cars.

    • Ari

      Safer for impaired pedestrians and cyclists definitely, but I think only marginally better in terms of delay for pedestrians. Delays will definitely be a lot higher for drivers even though they did close one of the accesses for vehicles (5 entries to 4 entries). I think the congestion will get worse, not that that is always a bad thing, but in terms of bus delays, this intersection will be the single major pinch point along AMETI at peak times. My guess is they would have to run a 3 minute phase cycle instead of the standard 2 minute one just to stop the network from choking. Those two crossings on EP Hwy will eat up at least a minute between them to run and they are still staggered crossings. If only they could have grade separated the busway just at this intersection, it would have greatly reduced delays for buses. I expect the gradient on the southern end was too great to permit it.

      • Starnius

        Well, the most important movements for pedestrians (across Queens Road and Jellicoe Road) will be non-signalised, on speed tables according to the above plan. So connections to the train station should be painless – while the western quadrant, which currently requires a whole odyssee around the roundabout, will have a more direct signalised crossing – which is likely to save time even with long cycles.

        Agree that full grade separation would be better, and that to provide good busway LOS, the other roads will have to suffer in terms of car delays. But hey, that’s okay. That’s what they sold us the new AMETI Road on the basis, so they should have the guts to do that!

      • Starnius

        Sorry, I meant “connections to the train station from the existing town centre should be painless”.

      • Up the road they are building a massive flyover to take traffic off this route and funnel it into the southeastern arterial. So if Panmure gets a traffic diet then so be it, as long as local access is maintained and buses and pedestrians are prioritised.

  • Christopher T

    It seems odd and extraordinarily myopic that the New Zealand Railways Department demonstrated more foresight than its diminished institutional descendant, KiwiRail. You need only look at the rail bridges on the western line for proof: from the Sandringham Road bridge at Kingsland (1927?) to the Blockhouse Bay Road bridge at Avondale (1972). All were built in anticipation of double or even triple tracking, years before such things occurred or might occur. It reiterates the point mentioned in the Campbell Live report that basically the whole Auckland network is viewed by KiwiRail as a freight line that just happens to run a few passenger trains. Sea change in institutional mindset required.

    • Starnius

      The answer is simple. Behind KiwiRail is a big guy with a meat cleaver threathening them to “BE PROFITABLE QUICKLY OR FACE THE AXE”. They have little money to spend, and obviously, don’t want to lose their jobs by protesting against short-term gains that create long-term pains…

      • But they can insist that NZTA does not ruin their designations when they allow them to build on them. Or have there been directives from Cabinet that rail designations are not to be future proofed. I feel a bunch of OIAs coming on.

        The point here being that simply enforcing that the rail ROW is protected does not cost anything, unless, and this would be consistent with other sneaky anti-rail moves by this government, NZTA and KR have been told that for any future rail benefit to be retained in new work that must be paid for by KR. Knowing, of course, that KR has NO FUNDS for even the slightest of capital works.

        • Starnius

          Go for those OIAs. I don’t really suspect shenigans that outright, but if there were, it would be a major scoop that really needs to be aired.

          • I’m not suggesting a conspiracy beyond the constant carping truck lobby makes about ‘their money’ , which is to say our taxes, being spent on anything other than MOAR roads. The insidious and misapplied idea of User Pays.

  • Why has Len got a couple of fingertips on the scissors? It’s creepy, like a JonKey 3 way handshake.

  • Konrad Kurta

    Interesting to see how this all fits together. I’ve always had a soft spot for roundabouts, but this one has always been a very big exception – to the point I’d go to considerable lengths to avoid it.

  • KLK

    Judging by the last shot, there’s some promising sites for intensification surrounding the entire interchange. Could be a good little mixed-use hub, even a sort of satellite area a quick train ride from the CBD. Like Newmarket.

  • Glen

    While I like roundabouts compared to lights in moderately-trafficked areas, when traffic gets heavy, roundabouts are hell. For eliminating the Panmure roundabout alone (if not for the issues with the third main rail line etc.) I’m happy to see this project roll on. I experienced this roundabout once as a learner driver and again recently as a cyclist – terrifying both times.

    As an aside, seems to me that most cities in NZ have one really bad roundabout – Panmure in Auckland and Sockburn in Christchurch spring readily to mind for starters. So what will be Auckland’s worst roundabout once Panmure heads to the roading engineer retirement village? Royal Oak?

    Time for a new thread Patrick? :)

    • Sailor Boy

      Greviile Road interchange is pretty ruthless. 80 kmh spped limit with lots of conflicting movements and drivers forced to illegally change lanes in the middle of the roundabout.

  • Tamaki

    Panmure is a place that’s just waiting to be discovered by a lot of aucklanders. It’s got some great ethnic restaurants and I recommend people visit the main street to check them out.
    It’s got a few salty pubs too, but it needs a cafe. I think the station development and forcing easterners to transfer in panmure may be good for the town.
    It’s also got cheap rent so it could transform into a really vibrant place if some more independent shops and businesses move in. The connection between the station and the old town will be key. Calming jellicoe rd may help this.
    Agree with big wheel on the AMETI rd, it will become the GI off ramp of a quasi motorway and will immediately encourage rat running through the eastern suburbs to and from the city. It is soooo obvious. The roundabout at the bottom of Merton rd will then need to go. Its already really busy.

    Anyway, good to see that some investment has finally been made in this area. Keep it up.

    • nzdn

      Panmure’s future looks bleak to me. Developers have no taste for revitalisation – they obviously preferred turning Lunn Ave into a pedestrian-hating retail strip instead. It still amazes me that the clifftop views have largely been wasted while patrons take in a vista of parked cars and sluggish traffic over their weekend coffees.

  • Jamie Walton

    In this cross-section (http://www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz/improving-transport/ameti/phase-1-panmure-construction/Pages/new-ameti-link-road.aspx) the new AMETI link road looks plenty wide enough for dual divided 2-lane carriageways, once the cycleways are ditched (or put on the lid above).

    The plan calls for an extension from Morrin Rd to Merton Rd, and this will probably use the available vacant grassy strip of motorway reservation … Is this the (piecemeal) start of the Eastern Motorway by stealth?

    • Why the hell would you ditch the cycle paths? It is one of the best things about the plan.

      The last thing this needs are more traffic lanes.

      • Jamie Walton

        I’m not advocating it, I’m just giving a heads-up that pressure might be applied from above for this to happen in the future. (And being up in the fresh air at grade on a bike would be nicer than being in a tunnel with smelly noisy trucks also.)

        • starnius

          Guys, you are behind the curve. For better or worse, the AMETI Road is designed as a 4-lane road already.

          The bad: It is designed as a 4-lane road, so one day they will widen it, as day follows night (well, not quite as inexorably, but chances are…)

          The good: The design was prepared from day one to retain the cycle facilities once it switches to 4 lanes (even through the tunnel). CAA has been pushing that barriers be added between the lanes and the cycleway, though, if that happens.

    • I think there should be room for 4 lanes plus slightly less separated cycle lanes, as the plan is certainly supposed to be a complete 4 lane road past 2020. Personally I don’t see why they shouldn’t just build it as 4 lanes now, to avoid the extra costs and the disruption of having to go back and dig up the road again later. Plus it reduces merges which can only be good.

      I can realistically see the road being extended north as far as Kohimarama Road and as far south as Waipuna Road some day. Any further than that would be plagued with a massive number of issues.

      • Jamie Walton

        Hamish O: “I can realistically see the road being extended north as far as Kohimarama Road and as far south as Waipuna Road some day.” – and then link up with the East-West link (northern option), possibly via a realigned Ireland Rd to join with Carbine Rd? – and then what northwards of Kohimarama Rd? (That’s the heads-up.)

      • starnius

        Next up: Eastern Transport Corridor light?

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