One side effect of the government’s announcement in late January to allow for the CRL to start on time in 2018 has been for a string of senior government politicians to visit the CRL team to see what’s going on.
Just over a week after the announcement Auckland Central MP Nikki Kay was getting a virtual tour of the Aotea Station
Two weeks after that Transport Minister Simon Bridges had a tour.
Stopped into the City Rail Link Project Office today. Was great to check out all the planning that's underway. pic.twitter.com/ibu5p2dgFN
— Simon Bridges (@simonjbridges) February 19, 2016
Now another two weeks on, Prime Minister John Key has had a look at progress and with the Herald in tow.
Stopped in to see the staff working on the City Rail Link, a project that will double capacity on the rail network. pic.twitter.com/K2j2M1mCok
— John Key (@johnkeypm) March 4, 2016
The Prime Minister yesterday took a tour around a busy railway station which doesn’t yet exist.
Mr Key slipped on a virtual reality headset for a walk around Aotea Station – one of the proposed underground stops for Auckland’s $2.5 billion City Rail Link.
The station is projected to handle around 12,000 people in peak hours and be one of the busiest hubs on the network.
Describing the visit to a downtown control room as a chance to grasp the complexity and potential of a crucial venture, Mr Key stressed the importance of making sure one of the biggest engineering missions in Kiwi history gets a “successful execution”.
“This is something that’s been talked about for decades. It’s exciting, but something you’ve got to get right,” Mr Key told the Weekend Herald. “The successful execution of the plan will allow it to be delivered on the broad budget of $2.5 billion to $3 billion.
Perhaps my favourite quote from him is at the end of the video where he says:
In one sense it’s a tremendously exciting time for Auckland, you know, you can see a world class city that can rival Sydney and Melbourne emerging before your eyes and you’ve got to go through all the planning phases and construction phases of that, but you know Auckland’s here for the long haul and they know the potential. And personally as someone who lives in Auckland I’m pretty excited by why I see. I think that for long period of time I’ve felt that Auckland could do a lot better than it has done, it’s got that natural beauty but it actually now needs the capacity and facilities to back that up.
That last line in particular is something we’ve also said many times before and one of the reasons we’re so passionate about improving this city.
We’ve seen the images of what’s proposed at Aotea before but the most interesting aspect of the whole piece had to be the video. AT have recreated the Aotea station in virtual reality and the video gives the best idea to date of what the finished product will look like. I personally thought it looked very good, especially the entrance on Wellesley St.
Radio NZ have also published the video but with just the shots of the station.
With various members of the government now visiting the project offices it suggests that they have rapidly getting on-board and wanting to be associated with the project and given even the PM has visited perhaps even suggests that they’re actually quite impressed by what they’ve seen.