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NZTA OIA Response on Additional Harbour Crossing

Prompted by the news that the NZTA is tendering work for route protection of the Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing (AWHC), I initiated an OIA request to the NZTA which has now been responded to.

I requested, on behalf of the Campaign for Better Transport:

1. A statement defining the land transport problem or issue that the proposed AWHC solution is attempting to address.
2. The studies and comparative assessments of alternative solutions that the NZTA has conducted, including, but not restricted to, an electrified rail only crossing of the Waitemata Harbour between the Auckland isthmus and the North Shore.

The NZTA responded with the following PDF documents:

  • Attachment A: Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing Preliminary Business Case, January 2011. The business case includes a statement outlining the problem which the Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing project is attempting to address (refer to ‘Description of Service Need’ on page 9)
  • Attachment B: Waitemata Harbour Crossing Study Phase 1: summary report option short listing, November 2007
  • Attachment C: Waitemata Harbour Crossing Study 2008: Study Summary Report, April 2008

Question 1: What Problem Are We Trying to Solve?

The Description of Service Need is this:

statementofserviceneed

What stands out here is the statement that the “AHB currently provides the only direct, cross-harbour vehicle link between the CBD and the North Shore.”  Resiliency seems to be a major driver behind a solution which supports six lanes of general traffic in a tunnel, with the possibility of rail at some indeterminate point in the future. What is odd is that there is no mention in any of the supplied documents of the Western Ring Route, a $2bn project adding resiliency and reducing demand on the existing Harbour Bridge which, in the NZTA’s own words, will “create a seamless motorway between Manukau and Albany”.  This is due for completion in phases in the next few years.

There are also the usual predictions of increasing traffic volumes, which threaten to “adversely impact on the length and reliability of travel times”. Quite why it is vital to minimise the travel times of single occupant cars isn’t explained.  Regardless, the Business Case uses traffic volumes in 2008 as the basis of forecasting, before the Northern Busway had a chance to make much of an impact.

traffic volumes

However, as Matt pointed out in this post, traffic volumes across the bridge have stubbornly stayed at 2008 levels, at least up until 2014.

AHB Annual Volumes to 2014

And that pretty much sums up the statement of need. As far as analysis of the need for mass rapid transit goes, there’s this analysis of the Busway:

Forecast demand for the Busway indicates that the morning peak hour flows into the CBD could increase to 250 buses per hour in 2041, representing a 138% increase over the 2009 volumes. This figure is the recommended target capacity for the Busway system, representing 12,000 passenger movements per hour6. However, achieving the target capacity is currently hindered by capacity constraints close to the CBD where the provision of dedicated bus facilities is more expensive and bus volumes are at their highest. One of the advantages of a new crossing would be the ability to have dedicated bus lanes across the AHB which would maintain a high level of trip reliability for passenger transport users.

On rail, the Business Case assumes a rail link between Gaunt Street Station in the Wynyard Quarter (underground) and Akoranga Station (at grade). The basis for modelling the tunnel is this diagram:

tunnel map

Construction cost alone of the combined tunnel is $4.6bn in 2010 dollars, with a total nominal cost over a 30 year period calculated as $12bn for the tunnel, including all capital expenditure and operating costs, with a risk factor as well:

nominal costs

The Business Case document comes up with a BCR of 0.4 for the combined tunnel option, including wider economic benefits and not including tolling.  Not so much a Business Case for the proposed AWHC then, but more a massive red flag suggesting  that not building the proposed tunnel is actually more economically beneficial for Auckland.  Even more worryingly, even though there is an assumption that the motorway will be widened to four lanes between Esmonde and Northcote road, there doesn’t seem to be any explanation of how the capacity of the Central Motorway Junction will be increased to cope with the additional three lanes of traffic each way that a new tunnel crossing will provide for.

Incidentally, transport modelling and the Cost Benefit Analysis excluded rail (p.25)

A parallel work stream to this study — The Network Plan — undertook an assessment of the longterm capacity of the existing Busway and concluded that a rail crossing was not required within the timeframes considered for the CBA. As such, the transport modelling excluded the modelling of rail, and the CBA includes costs for the roading component of the crossings only (i.e. the cost for the rail tunnel is excluded).

There is an interesting discussion on tolling (up to $8 each way modelled), but perhaps that is best left for another post.

Question 2: What alternatives have been evaluated?

The Business Case takes it as a given that capacity for additional vehicles is required.  This stems from the earlier options papers, which do indeed include an examination of a rail only crossing, which is the second question of the OIA request. Attachment C covers three short-listed options, with variations for each:

options

The study concludes (p.43) that a combined road / rail tunnel option is best – Option 2C.

summary

So although a rail tunnel was the best passenger transport option, the study recommends a combined road / rail tunnel. The option evaluation process appears not to have used a CBA / Economic Evaluation Manual approach, and it is difficult to tell exactly why option 2C is favoured over a rail only crossing. There is no comparison of BCRs between the rail only and combined tunnel options.  Presumably there is a strong weighting for resilience, but again discussion about the Western Ring Route is non-existent. However, the study also carries this warning on p.45:

Limited spare capacity on the strategic and regional arterial networks on both sides of the Harbour, together with the need to move towards a more sustainable transport system, mean it will be neither practical nor desirable to provide sufficient cross harbour road capacity to match demand. Any additional connectivity should therefore be provided to the best practicable standard, that is, in balance with the remainder of the Auckland road network, and in a cost effective manner.

And cost should probably be one of the most important factors. Page 36 has a table of costs for the different options.

optioncosts

A rail only tunnel was costed at about a quarter of the cost of a road / rail tunnel.

In summary, I don’t really think NZTA’s solution is going to work.  By design, it will increase the number of single occupant cars in the CBD and surrounding motorway networks and, according to their own analysis, make the economy of Auckland worse than if the project doesn’t proceed.  (And that isn’t even considering the impact of tolls on the economy.)

I don’t accept claims that the tunnel will be “future proofed” for rail either.  You only need to look at the history of future-proofing in Auckland (think Te Iririrangi Drive or the Manukau Harbour Crossing) to know that most likely it will never happen.

The taxation and expenditure of over $4bn dollars could make a real difference to Auckland if it was spent on the right things.  I think Aucklanders should get a say on this. Allowing the AWHC route protection to proceed in its current form, at a cost of tens of millions, is the thin edge of the wedge. If planning starts for a tunnel for single occupant cars, then that is what we’ll end up with.

This isn’t urgent. We’ve got time to get it right.

56 comments to NZTA OIA Response on Additional Harbour Crossing

  • Early Commuter

    Putting on my policy wonk hat:
    Problem defined in terms of vehicle movements. More correct would be to use passengers and kilogrammes of freight as the correct growth measure.
    That opens the entire problem up to a broader range of solutions.

    Not only that, but the description of service need *needs* to better set out (even in simple sentences) whether…
    the need is to improve travel times in a situation of growth
    the need is to keep travel times the same in a situation of growth
    the need is to restrict increased to travel times in a situation of growth

    An analogy would be if the police said “we anticipate that crime will increase x% over the next 20 years so at a ratio of y cops to n crimes we need z new cops”
    The Police minister would say “your role isn’t merely to resource to untreated demand”

    Your (final) statement of user need might be:
    “To effectively (measured in travel time) and efficiently (measured in cost) move anticipated future volumes of passengers and freight from the North Shore to the Auckland isthmus, and vice versa, for the period 2020-2060”

  • buttwizard69420

    I would disagree that it is urgent, but more specifically the need for a rail bridge above anything else. The price of iron is low. We need to be taking this opportunity to give people on the Shore a transport option that isn’t hideously bottle-necked by the bridge. There is nothing else that NZTA could do that would have such a radical impact on SOVs and improve their travel times.

    • Ricardo

      Sadly the bottleneck isn’t the bridge itself but the feeder roads. The feeder motorways on the shore and spaghetti junction in the city are the bottlenecks. I am in agreement with a freight / train / car / truck tunnel as rail is sorely needed on the shore as is a backup crossing.

      • Exactly; so don’t duplicate the bridge. The city can’t handle more cars, North Shore local roads can’t handle more cars. This is clearly a solution without a problem, or at least a solution in entirely the wrong shape for the anticipated problem.

        To increase and improve access through the region upgrading the Rapid Transit system through and to the North Shore looks like both the most cost efficient and the most effective option.

        The Council, the Minister, and the Agency should all be planning a proper and public wide ranging study of all options, not just proceeding with a suboptimal and crippling road only one simple because that’s what they always do….

        I would hope the highly skilled technocrats at NZTA would have more professional pride than to just follow habit on this. They need to be talking truth to power up the line here.

  • nonsense

    the best option for passengers and taxpayers is 1C The best option for the roading lobby is 2C. End of story.

  • Steve H

    Good write-up Cameron, and thanks for your effort in going through the OIA process on the public’s behalf. Agree in general with your comments, especially that this decision shouldn’t be rushed and should give weight to a full and proper CBA of alternatives.

    However I would be interested in some discussion of how we should go about future-proofing the crossing. Does future-proofing include considering the potential for disruptive technologies? I guess I’m referring to your statement that “there is no point in protecting a route for a mode of transport that may prove to be of little value in the future” and asking how far this type of consideration should go. For example, while electric vehicles may reduce the need for a tunnel with full ventilation, you could also examine whether self-driving vehicles could reduce the need for rail provision.

    Given that these analyses quickly sink into the clouds of the future, should an option be chosen which is both CBA-attractive now, but also provides for versatility in future mode shift? Keen to discuss.

    • Thanks for your comment Steve. I’m sceptical that self-driving cars or electric vehicles are going to be “disruptive” technologies.

      The poor cost benefit of the vehicular crossing option I think stems from the fact that providing enough peak capacity to enable cars to be driven within “acceptable” travel times is prohibitively expensive. Changing the engine of the car to run on electricity or enabling cars to drive themselves doesn’t really change that I think.

      Having said that, perhaps one way that technologies such as Uber might help is reducing the need for parking buildings, car ownership and potentially road capacity for private passenger carrying vehicles.

      I can’t think of any other potential future technologies that are a radical departure from the various modal options and associated constraints we have today for moving people and freight. It seems pretty clear to me that the mode we lack most to the North Shore is mass rapid transit, although for now the busway is serving us well.

      • Darius

        Hi Cam – I think those technological moves will make it easier for people to stop owning a car themselves (or reduce from 2-3 in a family), and only use (rented / shared / uber-style) cars on those trips or times not as well served by the PT network. Of course, if that’s what happens, building more road capacity is even more madness than if eveything stayed the same, so thanks for this article!

      • Steve H

        Thanks Cam, appreciate the response. Would you elaborating just a little bit on what you meant by this sentence in your letter to Nikki Kaye? “There is no point in protecting a route for a mode of transport that may prove to be of little value in the future.”

        I ask only because this is the same kind of argument that people make about trains.

        I think that on balance of all the above it becomes pretty clear that to date we have already provided plenty in the way of North-South connectivity for SOVs, and that perhaps it’s time we did the same for the remaining modes. This is why bikes and peds deserved the SkyPath, and why the tunnel should focus primarily on trains, especially if this option is 1/4 the price!

        • The argument put forward by the NZTA is that we may need six lanes of general traffic in a tunnel at some point in the future. They say that they won’t progress beyond route designation if the detailed business case doesn’t stack up. But if there is a chance that it won’t stack up, then why spend tens of millions protecting the route for six lanes of general traffic in the first place? That’s what I was trying to get at.

          In reality, business cases tend to be a “tick the box” affair these days since the proponent of the project funds the business case, so the outcome is pretty much pre-detemined. I can’t think of a single business case that has resulted in a project not proceeding in a form pretty close to what was proposed.

    • Greg N

      Steve, your comments about provisioning now for future technologies cut two ways.

      Why would a “driverless” future only amount to folks using SOVs/taxis, as opposed to being predominantly made up of driverless buses and trucks (and trains)?

      In fact to take that to a logical extension, it would be easier to envisage a future whereby driverless trucks are mainly using the WRR instead of the existing bridge or AWHC as the increased driving time doesn’t affect their “productivity” or reduce their working hours like it would for a human driver.

      And the increased distance from SH1 near Manukau to SH1 near Albany via WRR versus the bridge and SH1 as now, is only about 10km, about 6 minutes driving time for a truck at 100km/hr. So its not like its real expensive, then factor in the toll on both tunnel and existing harbour bridge (say $8) and that cost advantage of the bridge evaporates.

      All up, meaning this electric/driverless future will mean no need to put more trucks on the bridge or build a tunnel for them.

      Realistically the freight guys can go whistle for bit while the “driverless” truck technology develops sooner – as that more likely to come to pass by 2030 than this tunnel be built before then.

      Therefore Option 1C still remains the best option for all – once the “freight” part is put in its proper future context.

      Secondly, while electric this and that may work like EMUs do and not require lots of expensive ventilation, even 1 truck or a few combustion engine powered vehicles in the tunnels would need expensive ventilation. And while you could try and make the tunnels “EV” only, how will that be policed?
      Instead why not make it electric (train) only, and make the vehicles use the current bridge where they can pollute like they always do in the fresh air?

    • Additionally, many writers on Autonomous Vehicles claim that their deployment will lead to a fall in vehicle numbers through increased efficiency. As our motorways are built for the peak of peak, then remaining underutilised for the remaining 20-22 hours of the day, it is hard to see how the prospect of new ‘disruptive technologies’ in vehicles help make the case for additional traffic lanes… In fact all trends in OECD countries including our own are very bearish for rising traffic demand. The demand pressure is all on the alternative modes. The marginal user in Auckland is on Transit and Active modes, not in their car.

      The designation is backward looking rather than forward facing.

  • Stephen

    I have written to the minister about this and other transport projects in Auckland a few times now. The responses so far have been around how he sees the roading network as a strategic resource but not rail. As well as raising the $1.6 billion the “government” has invested into rail recently (Does anyone have the actual breakdown of this value? If I recall this value is not really correct and a lot was the due to Cullen and co.).

    • The $1.6b is, if anything, a little on the light side, and largely made up of the following components:
      Project DART: $600m
      Electrification and other track upgrades: $500m
      EMUs (including depot): $614m

      Of course, as the link says the work started in 2006, two years before National came to power, and was actually delayed somewhat by the rise and rise of English and Joyce.

    • We have covered this. That figure includes the previous government’s spending and the 500m loan to Auckland that we are paying back with interest. So yes it is considerably overstated. But what is more alarming is the subtext, which is they feel they’ve ‘done’ rail, so regardless of if evidence shows rail may be the best tool for the job somewhere in Auckland [ie Mangere, Harbour crossing] they don’t care. Rail has had its investment, perhaps forever?

      Mind you I guess we can sympathise; as this investment has been so successful that the rabbit’s out of the bag, people keep turning up to use it, and if you take it as axiomatic that rail is bad, out of date, and unpopular, this must be galling. Perhaps some sections of government now consider what was perhaps a sop to Auckland a huge mistake? They are certainly making sure they don’t repeat that mistake in Christchurch for example, not even entertaining using our old trains on existing track…

  • mfwic

    The B/C analysis should go something like this.
    1/ A road tunnel costs $4billion.
    2/ A rail tunnel could carry as many people in a narrower hole for say $3billion – saving $1billion.
    3/ There is no rail on the North Shore so we could leave the tracks and overhead wires out of the tunnel saving a further $300million including some trains we wouldn’t need. So total cost is now $2.7 billion.
    4/ But there is no point building a tunnel that doesn’t carry cars or trains so don’t build that either saving a further $2.7billion.
    5/ Total savings $4billion. Job done just send me my professional fees of 1.5%.

    • 1.5% of zero isn’t much… 🙂

    • Why are you pricing a rail-only tunnel at $3b? It says quite clearly above that it was costed between $1b and $1.5b (Options 1a, 1b, 1c) above.

      • mfwic

        Sorry but I stopped reading as soon as it said anything about a 2nd harbour crossing. It won’t happen in my lifetime. The whole thing is BS

        • Nick R

          I agree with this. The second harbour crossing has been bandied about since the first harbour bridge went in (well, and the second bridge at the upper harbour, but the third crossing, well whatever).

          Fact is it doesn’t really do much but costs an absolute butt load. Six billion bucks in one go to make it work, that is just too expensive for even the most profligate spendthifit politician to dump on a dunger.

  • Nick

    Well at least there’s plenty of time to organise a pressure group and campaign the likes of which NZ has never seen to fight this thing. A road based AWHC is one of the most irresponsible, irrational, and unethical projects I’ve ever seen proposed.

  • Josh T

    I always thought that one of the key reasons for the new harbour crossing was due to capacity issues created by having to remove the existing bridge clip-on lanes. I understand that these clip-on lanes have a limited engineering life after having been upgraded/repaired many times. Once they are removed, either new clip-on lanes or an additional crossing will need to be constructed just to maintain capacity (so forget about theoretical growth projections). Its surprising to me that this engineering aspect is absent from the current debate. The question is how much safe working life do the clip-on lanes have left?

    When looking at the case for railway across the harbour I can’t understand why there is not more discussion about additional busways. From what I can see busways would be able to cater for most of the passenger growth expected from the ‘Shore for the next 50+ years, and yet would be way cheaper. Why would you need heavy rail to do a job that a grade-separated busway can do? Surely the bus solution is more flexible too? Also, how do you tie-in Gaunt St station to the existing rail network – I think the grades get quite tricky… (and at what additional cost?)

    • Page 18 of the business case covers the clip-on lanes:

      The NZTA has an active management regime in place for the AHB which is focused on managing the main structure and extension bridges so that they will continue to provide the connectivity needed to cater for all vehicles crossing the harbour. As a result of the current strengthening work on the extension bridges (which will be completed in 2010) combined with active management, the NZTA expects to maintain the extension bridges indefinitely.

      The issue with the busway is that there are capacity constraints in the CBD.

      • Greg N

        And this point about bridge lifespan was also made during the Skypath hearings when NZTA took the stand in front of the commissioners.

        Their evidence confirmed the “indefinite life left in the old bridge” story, so at least NZTA is still consistent there.

        It is true the the “right to occupy” that the bridge has will run out sometime in the 2040s (2043?), but I think that right would be renewed without question by the authorities of the day when that expires so the old bridge is staying put.

    • BBC

      Bus way under the harbour would be significantly more expensive than a rail only tunnel, and there doesn’t need to be ‘flexibility’ it’s a spine route running along a fixed route into the city free of congestion. The ongoing costs are lowered by having significantly higher capacity without the need for so many people driving buses for starters.

    • One reason a road tunnel is hugely more expensive is the need for continuous ventilation of combustion by-products. A rail tunnel for electric trains only needs to be able to ventilate smoke from a fire, which is a simpler proposition than ventilating and filtering the exhaust fumes of road vehicles with internal combustion engines. The standard for an ordinary working environment where carbon monoxide is present is 40 complete air changes an hour, which necessitates massive fans and huge exhaust stacks for a road tunnel because the air is deemed unsafe at all times the tunnel is in operation. That’s why a bus tunnel will not be significantly cheaper than a general road tunnel, as it will still require continuous ventilation sufficient to an environment where ICEs are running.

    • Why does it have to be heavy rail? The sensible option seems to be light metro.

  • George D

    How much would green paint on the Harbour Bridge cost?

    • Greg N

      More appropriate colour would be whitewash surely?

      • Darius

        Nothing whitewash about adding buslanes on the bridge. Long overdue in fact, and potential for massive PT improvement.

        • Greg N

          Agreed, but we don’t need a $4+ billion dollar tunnel to go with the $100 tin of green paint to enable the bus lanes which is what NZTA says has to happen.

          Hence why the whole idea should be whitewashed.

    • George D

      The fact that they haven’t considered a “base” case of minimum improvements (including bus lanes) means that this study is incomplete. How do you know what you’re assessing if you don’t have something to assess against?

      Typical for the NZTA though, who are obsessed with multi-billion dollar projects and ignore more effective fixes.

      • Matthew W

        Well, given the BCR is <1 (negative net benefits in the billions), the base case will definitely be better than what is proposed, even if the base case is nothing more than a new coat of paint.

  • KLK

    Is it too much to ask that if they get their road-only tunnel, they’ll equip the existing bridge with dedicated busway/LRT lanes (as well as cycle lanes to negate the pedestrian-cyclist conflict with Skypath)?

    Would kill the idea of linking the shore with the heavy rail network but confirm its future will be served by LRT, while improving cycling amenity.

    I believe they call the above “putting lipstick on a pig”….

    • Yes they are very clear about wanting to shove everything else onto the existing bridge. A bridge that was built for only one mode, is connected into that mode’s network, and is not dysfunctional nor falling down.

      There is a clear efficiency in leaving that kit to just keep on going as it is and to supplement it with the missing modes nearby; first SkyPath underneath, then the cost efficient and high capacity Rapid Transit system adjacent.

      A RTN that will be even more attractive and effective by taking the direct and fast route across the harbour, also addressing Wynyard Quarter’s access problems from both the Shore and the rest of the city on the way.

      This is so clearly a superior plan that I am confident it will win in any balanced study.

  • Matthew W

    It is interesting that they say there arecapacity constraints in the CBD for buses, but also say that buses will be suitable up until 2041 so no need to invest in rail. Presumably this means the business case includes or assumes significant bus based upgrades in the CBD – did they elaborate?

  • stevenz

    A couple things:
    Driverless technology could be somewhat of a “disrupter” (tired of that buzzword, too) in that autonomous vehicles could have a significant speed advantage over current cars. If they are safe as, there is no reason they can’t operate at, say, 160 kmh. And the bridge *is* the bottleneck. People slow down at the bridge because it is perceived as narrower than the at-grade motorway. Or I should say, the bridge approaches are the bottleneck. They meter the traffic onto the bridge to match the capacity, so it flows better than the approaching roads. But driverless cars wouldn’t care how wide the bridge is or appears to be, so they would not be slowed by the approaches.

    If the crossing is built as it is shown on the diagram, it just moves the congestion points. It adds more lanes into existing capacity so you have the bottleneck removed from the bridge to other points north and south of the current ones. Unless the motorway is widened for its entire Auckland length, something that isn’t going to happen. The extra crossing only makes sense if it increases total capacity.

    And, as Early Commuter sagely points out, it isn’t about vehicles, it’s about people. Looking a road-only options would provide the least capacity upgrade, especially if as I argue above, the increase in capacity is a short segment in the middle of the system.

    The ironic thing is that we could end up splitting the Super City into two parts again, North and South, if it takes 20 more years to upgrade the crossing, and I doubt it can be done sooner than that. People will vote with their tyres or feet and development will increase in Albany, Silverdale, Manukau, New Lynn, where ever, to avoid the bridge. Would that be a good outcome, or a bad one?

  • Mr or mrs brown

    Looks like some follow up questions are needed.

  • Mr or mrs brown

    Looks like some follow up OIA questions need to be sent in…

  • Frank McRae

    The most honest thing the NZTA could say would be: “we like building big things and the AWHC is the biggest thing we could think of. Despite the project making no sense at all our engineers can’t wait to build this big thing.”

  • Guy

    If I was NZTA, I’d be pretty hacked off at cheeky little monkeys like you lot making them look silly. I mean, how dare you raise points that expose the fact that they actually haven’t thought through the problem very clearly. They’ve been happily thinking: congested traffic in Auckland therefore build more roads. And congested traffic on bridge, therefore build second crossing. They will be absolutely spitting tacks at the points that you have raised. Then they’ll get their hackles up, and build it anyway, just because. Same issue down in Wellington with the Flyover – there is no need, it is demonstratably not solving the problems, but they want to build it anyway – just because. And now you are telling the world that the second Harbour Crossing is a pointless wrong answer to the wrong question?

    Keep it up !

    • This is one of those very rare situations where someone has designed a problem to fix another perceived problem. Outstanding.

      Let’s not dignify these conversations with talk about a solution when clearly the preferred option is anything but.

  • Nigel

    The flat demand in vehicles crossing the harbour bridge seems mainly attributable to the large number of people using the busway. I would be interested in an analysis of what effect a rail tunnel would have. Would rapid rail transit between the shore and the city encourage enough people to switch to it that we will see a reduction in the number of vehicles crossing the bridge despite population growth? not only will there be fewer cars from people switching modes but there will be a large reduction in buses because they will all be in the new rail link.
    This should also reduce the number of vehicles entering the city.The reduction in the number of vehicles on the bridge would free up capacity for freight.

  • George D

    Let’s start calling this the Third Harbour Crossing.

    Language matters, and consistently addressing this as the Third Harbour Crossing would make very clear that the second crossing already exists.

    • tuktuk

      +1. Great recommendation to the blog admin folk to call this the third crossing. And to Gen Zero. Audacity, shamelessness and arrogance come to mind also for those pushing behind the scenes to make this happen.

      This is the sort of elephantine lemon that takes New Zealand closer to a Greece type bail-out and loss of national sovereignty when the P.P.P. goes broke and government assumes the debt. Planning to toll? To make the toll even remotely work may require some pretty serious discouragement of PT to and from the North Shore. Similar situation to Melbourne’s Citylink to the Airport where any possibility of a rapid transit corridor appears forever lost in the ether. Even then the existing “free” harbour bridge will continue to take a lot of the traffic. This is all without even beginning to consider how to distribute the traffic south of the new tunnel. Complete dog of a project, and financially dangerous to NZ Inc.

    • Depends how you want to count it. I’d say the planned tunnel is the fifth harbour crossing: after the original bridge in the 50s, the clip-ons in the 60s, the upper harbour bridge in the 70s(?), and the parallel upper harbour bridge in the 2000s.

      We’ve got thirteen general motorway lanes and a single shared path over the Waitemata at the moment. Do we really need 19 lanes before we can even start looking at rapid transit?

  • Ted F

    I guess there were projections on the effect of the WRR before the project was instigated. How do those figures affect the Case for the 3rd Waitemata Harbour Crossing?

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