New bus lanes for CRL disruption

Auckland Transport announced yesterday (interestingly only on social media) that there have been no appeals against their consent to start works for the City Rail Link in Albert St. That has cleared the way for work to start in November on moving stormwater pipes – the first physical works needed to deliver the project. As the Herald reported yesterday the actual process of digging the tunnels will start in May next year and will also involve closing the Chief Post Office building down for a few years while the foundations are moved to accommodate the future rail lines.

Changes to Britomart

The works will necessitate a new entrance being created at the rear of the CPO. Here is a concept image of what it will look like

3D view of temporary Briotmart station CRL2

The works will also see a number of streets affected by the construction works – especially Albert St. AT say this will affect more than 5,000 bus trips per day and as such a number of bus routes will have to be changed. Importantly they say they’re prioritising PT in the city during this time saying it is “to provide an effective and efficient way to move the most people in, out and around the city.” It’s good to see AT making this clear.

To prioritise these routes it means AT will be adding in a number of new bus lanes in the city centre as well as temporarily removing on-street car parking from some locations. An overview of the on street changes expected are shown in the image below.

On Street changes for CRL works

There are more detailed maps about just where the changes will occur here.

In total around 77 carparks are affected and given the amount of off street parking generally available I doubt this should have too much impact. Of course people will likely quickly adapt to it being gone so in a few years perhaps those parking changes could become permanent. There are also changes to six loading zones.

 

These works will undoubtedly be disruptive for the city centre however the end result will be transformative for all of Auckland. It enables a huge increase in frequency and capacity of the entire rail network making it more viable to a wider range of people. It also frees up space on city streets so that more buses from areas not served by rail – and in future light rail – can be run, again benefiting not just those going to the city centre. It is also the catalyst for massive growth and it’s no surprise that so many major projects have been announced along the CRL route.

CRL Growth Corridor

And provides a large redevelopment opportunity at Eden Terrace

Mt Eden TOD

In addition to all of this it also opens the way for a whole host of projects to further improve the city centre. Projects such as improved footpaths on Albert St, the Victoria St linear park, the new public space outside the CPO.

Of course the biggest question that remains is when the government will come to the party and fund their share of the project.

Mangere/Airport Rail 2.0

Below is AT’s proposed post CRL rail running pattern. Quite complicated, with some peak only services and an infrequent 3tph [trains per hour] Henderson-Grafton-Otahuhu crosstown service. One feature of this design is that the 6 tph Swanson-CRL-Onehunga service [core Western line service] has every second train stopping at Newmarket, so it becomes 3tph from there to Onehunga. This is because the branch line from Penrose to Onehunga isn’t able to take any higher frequency, but also because there probably won’t be the demand on this little line to balance that of the whole of the western line, unless it is to be extended. And at 12tph there is plenty of action south of Newmarket- a train every 5 minutes each way.

Post CRL running pattern

Another notable feature is just how important Otahuhu is becoming. It’ll have 18tph both directions at the peaks; a train every few minutes each way [correction: actually 21 tph in the peak direction]. A frequency only matched by the Centre-City underground CRL stations. So it will be a great place to connect; that frequency kills wait times and connection anxiety, but also it offers a one-seat ride to everywhere on the network bar the last three Western Line stations and, unlike Newmarket, there is space for an expanded track layout for all these train movements [plus dedicated freight lines]. Add the fact that as you read this, thanks to the Council’s Transport Levy, a bus interchange station is being built there too, it’s becoming a real busy hub.

So picture this; How about adding the heart of Mangere and the Airport to the list of direct Otahuhu rail connections?

MANGERE-AIRPORT LINE

The Line

Here’s how it could go, there are a couple of options at the northern end, but otherwise around 9km of track over flat terrain pretty direct to the Airport. And, importantly some very good points along the way to serve the local community and add catchment to the service. On the map above I am proposing new stations at:

Robertson Rd

Mangere Town Centre/Bader Drive

Montgomerie Rd

Airport Terminals

The first two are close together but serve communities separated by SH20, and both are on good perpendicular bus and bike routes to expand that catchment. Mongomerie is also at a junction for good bus connection and is in the middle of the growing employment area north of the Airport. So residential, employment, and the community, education, and retail of the Mangere Town Centre too. Importantly this would act as a way to reconnect the community flung apart by the motorway severance. More on local impacts below.

Otahuhu is 25 minutes from Britomart, a number that should come down when AT and their operator sort out their currently overlong dwell times, and would be around 10 or so minutes from the Airport Terminals. 35mins from the heart of the city? Even cabinet ministers from the provinces would see the point of that congestion free journey when [say] going to meet us at the Ministry of Transport or NZTA in the city. But also such a fast and direct service would make taking it by connection from the North Shore viable, improving options for what is currently an expensive and congestion prone journey by any mode.

And in terms of running pattern it’s already sorted: send all 6tph of the western line on to through the CRL, Otahuhu, Mangere and the Airport. An immediate 10min all day frequency, through the busy Ellerslie and Newmarket hubs, direct to Remuera and Parnell, all the city CRL stations and every point on the Western line. Easy transfer at Otahuhu for every other station and connection point on the network. Uber to any station on the network with your bags, and you’re on your way in comfort and at speed right to the Terminal, and out of the vagaries of Auckland traffic and cost and hassle of parking. Personally I would prefer that transfer to the one people make now in their thousands at Airport Park’n’Rides.

Or if it’s preferred the 3tph currently intended to stop at Newmarket plus the 3tph of the crosstown service on from Otahuhu to make up the frequency. That looks overly fiddly and illegible to me, but that’s not important for this argument; the point is that Otahuhu in fact looks like a better point to connect Mangere and the Airport to the rest of the city than Onehunga, for both speed of service, and onward connections. And the added bonus of improving network efficiency by simply extending existing services.

Local Community

Of course the route is not free. the section between the SH20 interchange and Otahuhu station goes down a highway designation that NZTA still probably want and that the locals recently fought to keep as it is. Here:

Mangere Central

It is possible that the local community, if treated fairly and with respect, may see the advantages for them in having to this line in their midst. It is substantially different from a highway in terms of width, noise, pollution and benefit. The current residents would need to be rehoused to their advantage and the line would have to come with high quality and numerous crossing points and increased community access to the new stations and other destinations. It could be a catalyst for a whole lot of improvements in the area. But I can’t speak for them.

Otherwise it just faces the same route issues that the one sourced from Onehunga has. The refusal by previous decision makers, especially Manukau City Council, but also NZTA, and ARTA, to future proof adequately in their plans here means more expensive elevated solutions will be required over SH20A. However we are assured that the current Kirkbride Rd works allow for that and that the Airport company is similarly preparing for such a line. Otherwise it doesn’t look to face any unusual engineering challenge. Only the standard political and financial ones.

Interestingly here is report by BECA for ARTA from 2008 that features this route, with exactly the same station placements [can’t be too illogical then]. That found that Route 2B, as they called it, scored well:

BECA @B

BECA Airport Rail

But the report is complicated by the inclusion of the Avondale-Westfield line. One I never seen the point of in passenger terms and can not picture an efficient rail running pattern for, and that is only there because of an ancient freight designation. Also I find it odd that the report doesn’t analyse routes it terms of how services would use them.

Avondale-Onehunga-Penrose, and further, looks like it could be a more useful Light Rail service, once AT have their ‘four finger’ routes all ending along this line. The rest of the report is very dated and I’m sure would use very different ridership projections now.

I am confident about the utility and therefore the appeal of such a fast and direct line for Airport customers and employees, especially with such good onward connections and a turn up and go frequency. So long as the Sydney pitfall of putting a punitive fare on the Airport Station is not applied. Add the local residential, employment, and student catchments and bus connections, and this looks like a strong option without either the slow winding route from Onehunga, or the cost of crossing the Mangere inlet.

There is still the problem of the conditions that the Airport company are demanding; in particular a more expensive undergound route to future proof for a second runway to the north and to keep it out of the way of their new terminal plans. However AIAL also predict huge rises in passenger and associated business volumes at and around the Airport which means that they are going to find other more valuable uses for land than just car parking. And, despite the heroic showering of money on State Highways if this growth is still to only be served by single occupant vehicles and buses stuck with them then these roads and the local ones in the area are not going to work. A really effective Rapid Transit route and service is only going to be needed here with increasing urgency, and nothing will give the capacity and time competitiveness like hooking into the existing rail network that is already much of the way there.

Yes the capital investment will not be minor, but the outcome is both a permanent and extremely valuable for both the city’s efficiency and resilience. It will also add efficiency to the operations of the rail network, increasing utility and cost effectiveness by working those existing assets harder. The always senseless claim that ‘Aucklanders won’t use rail’ or other forms of public transport, has been proven wrong beyond any doubt since recent improvements and booming ridership numbers.  It really is time for certain groups to drop their blinkered knee-jerk rejection of this mode, as it is based on historic conditions and experiences that no longer apply in the new Auckland, and as it really is the best tool for this important job.

Like the Rail Network the Airport appears to be on a trajectory for 20mil passenger movements a year by 2020: It is long overdue that we get these two critical systems linked together for their- and the city and nation’s- mutual benefit.

image

 

 

The future of Eden Terrace?

Last year Auckland Transport announced it was dropping the Newton station from the City Rail Link in favour of a redeveloped Mt Eden station. Some of the key reasons cited included:

  • That heritage and view shaft restrictions severely limited the redevelopment potential around the station. Also much of the redevelopable land probably has easier access to the K Rd station with the entrance to Mercury Lane.
  • It allowed them to build a grade separated junction instead of a flat one (like all the other Auckland ones are) which is better for reliability.
  • It saved around $120 million

On the first point they noted the restrictions around Newton aren’t present around the Mt Eden station so there’s the potential for a lot of development. This is especially the case seeing as a huge chunk of the area will be dug up to build the tunnels leaving lots of vacant land available.

An image in a recent presentation shows how much the area could be developed once the CRL has been completed

Mt Eden TOD

That could represent a substantial number of dwellings. It would be interesting to know how much money raised from the redevelopment and sale of that land could contribute towards the cost of the overall project – something I don’t think is able to be included in the business case.

This is image if the potential street pattern that was shown when the change as announced

Mt Eden Station Plan

And an idea of what the redeveloped station might look like.

Mt Eden Station Artistic Impression

CRL Stage One construction details emerge

Contractor Magazine have run an article on the CRL early works, here.

Britomart Axio

Here is an update on projects underway or planned to start soon on the northern part of the route.

Queen St Light Rail

On the day that the Sydney Morning Herald runs an intelligent editorial showing a grown-up attitude to the disruption that comes with important infrastructure builds…

The Herald remains a strong supporter of the light rail project to run through the inner city and eastern suburbs, and urges the Baird government to prosecute the case forcefully for the line.

Construction of the project, due to start on George Street in October, will be painful and frustrating. Mistakes will be made, and they must not be excused.

But any conception of the transport needs of central Sydney must begin on the basis the status quo is unsustainable.

That status quo represents an over-reliance on bus transport through crowded city streets.

The streets are so crowded that the buses are unreliable. They consistently fall behind timetable well before they have left the city and entered the suburbs.

…AT has released more LRT images:

Town Hall LRT_800

Note in both images all cars are gone, and there is a sort-of cycle lane, that in practice will really be part of the big shared space, yet indicated. Personally I think this is a good arrangement for this pedestrian dominated place and means that it is a slow speed and take care place for riders. The parallel routes of Nelson and Grafton Gully are for getting places at pace; good crosstown cycling connections will be needed to link these all together.

Queen St LRT_800

This would be a spectacular upgrade to the Queen St valley in terms of access but even more so in place quality. And just at the right time, or at least the proposal certainly isn’t ahead of the need; downtown is booming and development is spreading up the hill. We will be able to taste the sea air again in the city! I just can’t wait to get the fume-belchers out of our main spine.

Also from a purely transport capacity angle this will add a whole new access point for people into our uniquely motorway severed City Centre, as currently buses have been restricted on Queen St to the local access only City Link, and the AirBus, because of the unattractiveness of too many diesel buses in core pedestrian places. Adding Queen St to those other two north-south streets of Albert and Symonds as a route to move high volumes of people, while reducing the total bus numbers.

As the SHM goes on:

The Herald does not support any one mode of transport over another. In a metropolis like Sydney, trains, buses, the private car, light rail, cycling and walking all obviously have their role to play.

But the government should invest money in the mode of transport that fits the particular need of a particular space and of a particular travelling public.

And in central Sydney, the use of a growing number of buses to get people to and from work is no longer fit for purpose.

Without major changes to the city – without replacing some of those buses by new rail links – it will be impossible to increase the frequency of bus services to those areas not served by rail.

This argument represents much of the benefits inherent in the CBD light rail project down George Street, as well as the North West Rail Link and its eventual connection to the inner city.

This is exactly the situation Auckland finds itself in; the City Rail Link for connection to and through the core and the further out West, East, and South, and buses upgrading to LRT when capacity limits are hit on surface routes elsewhere. Including, in my view, across the harbour from Wynyard in tunnels to a balancing North Shore network, instead of the bloated and destructive third road crossing. Or a bridge, either way it would be direct, fast, and way way cheaper than NZTA’s current, yet last century, plans:

Light Rail Bridge

Light Rail Bridge

 

All up it renders Queen St just like Bourke St in that other Australian city:

Bourke St Transit Mall, Melbourne 2014

Bourke St Transit Mall, Melbourne 2014

I have requested an image of Dominion Rd LRT too, so will follow up with that and other info in the days ahead.

City centre employment and the CRL: good news or bad?

If you’ve been keeping up with the news or if you’ve been following our Development Tracker, you’ll know that there’s a lot of new office development activity starting to happen in Auckland’s city centre. And a significant amount of it right on the CRL route:

CRL + new City Centre buildings

Image from SkyscaperCity – development along the CRL route. Includes some non-office buildings, and doesn’t show all the office buildings discussed in this post

Under construction:

  • 151 Victoria Street West, with 17,600 square metres (sqm) due for completion later this year.
  • There’s 40,000 sqm of office space going up at the southern end of Wynyard Quarter in the VXV park. This is across three buildings, Fonterra, Datacom and VXV Three, due for completion in 2016 and 2017.
  • Also, there’s 125 Queen St which is currently being refurbished. That’s 15,000 sqm of space coming back into circulation after being vacant for some years.

Proposed:

  • The Downtown Shopping Centre redevelopment – this will add 35,000 sqm of office space for completion in early 2019. It will get underway next year, when the City Rail Link works begin.
  • 1 Mills Lane is being developed by Mansons and will have enough space for 4,000 workers.
  • Precinct Properties is developing 48,000 sqm of office space across five buildings in Wynyard quarter. The first stage of 12,000 sqm gets underway shortly.
  • Mansons are also developing 10 Sale Street, with 10,000 sqm of space.

All up, the projects currently under construction will provide space for more than 5,000 workers. The proposed projects would accommodate at least another 10,000. This excludes developments which currently seem to be off the boil but could come to life at any time, such as Shortland Star and the Britomart Central building.

This is during a time when CBD vacancy levels are at record lows, and the city centre simply doesn’t have the office space it needs to grow employment.

So, assuming these buildings are completed more or less on schedule, and the number of jobs grows to fill the new space available – all of which seems a reasonable bet, in the current climate – these would be significant increases in employment. Nationally significant, even. By comparison, New Zealand has increased employment by just 93,000 people in the last four years. Currently, the Auckland city centre has around 90,000 employees (in the Auckland Central West/ East and Auckland Harbourside area units), or 100,000 if a slightly wider definition is used (adding in Grafton East and Newton).

City centre employment

This sounds like a “good news” story, and for the most part it is. However, the reason we’re so interested in employment numbers on TransportBlog is that the government has said it will only support an early start on the City Rail Link (CRL) if Auckland is on track to meeting two targets – one based on train patronage, and one based on city centre employment.

We’ve written extensively on these targets in the past. We don’t think the employment target is a valid way of deciding when the CRL should start, for a number of reasons. It propagates the myth that the project is all about the city centre, which it’s not. It’s also a target that has little to do with the effectiveness of the CRL. Plus, there’s the “chicken and egg” situation where the CRL is actually the project needed to dramatically improve city centre accessibility, allowing much more employment (and other) growth there.

When John Key announced the government targets for early support of the CRL, he said that city centre employment would have to increase by 25 percent. As it happened, the target was so poorly defined that the Ministry of Transport had to go away and decide exactly how it would be measured. As I’ve argued in the past, the definition they eventually decided on was rather unfair, requiring 24,000 employees to be added to the CBD between 2012 and 2020. The linked post suggests that a start date of 2006 is “more consistent with the reference to the [City Centre Future Access Study] in National’s targets”.

So, as the government currently defines the target, do these new developments put us on track to achieve growth of 25% by 2020? No. Even if all these developments go ahead – and the Precinct Properties work at Wynyard is likely to take longer to be completed – we would still be a long way off achieving the target by 2020. However if we define the target in the way that I’ve argued is more consistent, we are on track. We’ve already had growth of around 13,000 employees since 2006, and with the developments that are currently under construction or proposed, we have a very good chance of reaching the remaining 11,000 by 2020.

This would be a really good time for the Ministry of Transport to take a hard look at their targets, and reassess whether they are defining them in the most sensible way. The good thing about the target being so vague is that they’ve left themselves a lot of wriggle room to reinterpret it from the current hardline position. This would be easier politically than scrapping it altogether. If they do what I’ve suggested, it won’t be long before the Prime Minister is able to come out and say, “With strong growth in train patronage, and city centre employee numbers set to grow substantially, the CRL has met our targets for early financial support, and we will be will be full financial partners to the Auckland Council on this”. Now that would be a good news story.

Photo(copy) of the Day: The Rational Plan

I guess this is just one of those ones we should have on high rotate. The advice from the North American consultants in 1965 for Auckland at the height of the sprawl era was this: ‘a co-ordinated bus and rail Rapid Transit plan‘ to go along with the gradual construction of motorways. How prescient this looks as the following 50 years have shown how inefficient and expensive a monomodal autodependent transport plan is for cities.

De Leuw Cather_Highway Report

And now as we finally inch towards the partial delivery of just such a system it is plainly obvious how rational it is; ongoing 20% growth on the Rapid Transit Network settles the long running claims that it would never work in Auckland.

It is extraordinary that the government claims Auckland Transport and Auckland Council don’t have a good plan. It’s only the same plan that we’ve always had, but have never been allowed to implement. First because the various councils ‘couldn’t agree’ but now because there is insufficient ‘alignment’ with the government’s plan, which is undisclosed in any holistic form, but clearly is just more motorways everywhere. The Auckland plan, is evidenced, popular, already working, but starved of cash.

To 1986 and beyond…

Indeed.

And here, on a projected future motorway map you can see the core rail part of the ‘coordinated bus and rail Rapid Transit plan‘:

 

DE LEUW CATHER_7416

*Thanks to the excellent Auckland Library archive.

Comparing Capacity

It seems Auckland Transport is slowing getting better with simple advertising. First we saw the nice, simple and effective Bus Lane poster. Now it’s the rail network and City Rail Link’s turn. On AT’s Facebook Page for the CRL this image has appeared highlighting the capacity of our new trains.

AT Rail Capacity Image

I think AT are on the right track with this by highlighting the capacity however a couple of quick thoughts it would be good for them to consider.

  • Why not just talk about 375 people per EMU being moved free of congestion.
  • Using the car comparison a car occupancy rate of 1.3 seems a little high, a rate of 1.2 is probably more realistic and would mean ~312 cars off the road.
  • There’s no mention that at peak times many (not all) trains will consist of two EMUs. Based on ATs figures that means 576 cars off the road.
  • Why not highlight what that means at peak times. We know that if AT run the network to the full capacity they plan which is a train every 10 minutes on the Eastern, Southern and Western line plus half hourly on the Onehunga line that would equate to 20 trains per hour at Britomart. Most of those at the height of the peak will be 6-car trains. Based on ATs figures that works out to around 10k-15k vehicles of the roads over the 2-hour morning peak.
  • Taking the line of thinking above further, the CRL is said to allow for up to 24 trains per hour per direction or a total of 48 trains an hour. Assuming by then all trains would be 6-cars in length that’s a total capacity of almost 28,000 people who could be moved free of congestion and with much better frequency than we have today.

Overall a good effort from AT though it also opens up a lot of opportunity for expansion.

The CRL Design Showcase

Today Auckland Transport start a five day long CRL design showcase which is showing what the new stations and public spaces will look like. It’s taking place in QEII Square from 10am to 4pm so if you’re going to the Open Streets event tomorrow then consider popping along.

AT have kindly provided me with the images they’ll be showing and I can now share them with you. Not only are they exciting, making the project much more real but they provide a lot of new information about how the city centre will work in the future.

First up here’s a high level view of what Queen St and lower Albert St will look like after the works have finished. There are some more detailed views of a few aspects below but the unique parts are the precinct developments and the Lower Albert St bus interchange. On the Precinct development I quite like that the north/south lanes are offset which should make the area more interesting.

Lower Queen St and Albert St public realm

A closer view of the area around Britomart is below and you can see that Gaunt and Tyler St will still be in use for buses which seems a shame however given the number of buses that need to be accommodated it is likely inevitably. The good news is the rest of lower Queen St will be turned into a public space. That will be much better for those exiting Britomart compared to what we have now with thousands dodging buses (note: the current underpass is being removed as part of these works).

Britomart public realm

One of the intentions is that the space in front of Britomart will be used as space for events

Lower Queen St Event Space

And here’s Albert St after the CRL. I’m not too convinced that Kauri make good city street trees

Albert St Streetscape

One thing I do like is the suggestion of giving the bus lanes more definition. The image below looks like it could mean tiles which seems like overkill for a buslane but it could also just be concrete, either way the extra definition is welcome. It will also be good getting some decently upgraded footpaths on the street.

Albert St post CRL

Remaining on the surface AT are also showing how buses will operate in this part of town after the CRL is complete. This is shown below

Downtown Bus Routes post CRL

Moving on to the stations and AT say they want each station to have a unique personality which flows through from the entrances through to the platforms.

At Britomart it appears there will be a few changes. This includes moving the fare gates up to the ground level as well as removing that odd podium in the middle of the ground floor that helps to restrict pedestrian movement.

Britomart Axonometric views

It also appears that a better customer service/ticketing area will be provided.

Britomart Interior views

At Aotea we get to the first of the new stations. It appears that the focus here will be on the entrances at least some of them designed for development to occur above.  It even seems like they’re planning an apple store here – but more likely just a lot of artistic licence.

Aotea Station Concept

We’ve seen this image before but here’s a cut away of the inside of the station. It appears that there’ll be light wells to provide natural light on the platform. Presumably this will take us more space on Albert St and given it’s already tight through there I hope that doesn’t mean loss of the bus lanes on this section.

Aotea Station box cutaway

At Karangahape Rd there are two entrances, one in Beresford Square and one on Mercury Lane. The Beresford Square entrance is meant to be the main one and I really like that roof over the entrance which is meant to reference the mana whenua narrative of Hape and his arrival to Auckland by stingray. They say that below ground horizontal banding of modular cladding is meant to mimic its local geology of sandstone, siltstone and mudstone.

K Rd station Beresford Entrance

And it seems that the designers want light far down into the station here too. This also highlights how bug the station is. That’s a lot of earth that will need to be dug out.

K Rd station Beresford Daylighting

Below shows another angle of the Beresford Square entrance

K Rd station Beresford Underground

The Mercury Lane entrance seems like it will be similar to the Wellesley St Aotea Entrance where the entrance is eventually just part of another building.

K Rd station Mercury Lane Entrance

We’re starting to have a number of really good stations and I think that the K Rd station could end up the most impressive of all of them. It seems that it will almost definitely be so from an engineering perspective.

It’s fantastic to see more detail emerging. I suspect as we continue to learn more about the details of the project and as we get closer to the start of construction that we’re only going to see support for the project increase (it’s high already). It would be good for AT to take some of this info as well as much more about how the project benefits the entire region on showcase around the region.

CRL contracts awarded

Some great news today from Auckland Transport, that they’ve now awarded the contracts for the first two stages of the City Rail Link.

CRL Outline-Train-Plan-31July2014

The City Rail Link (CRL) takes another significant step forward with the announcement today of the appointment of two construction consortia to commence the first phase of the CRL construction in the Downtown area.

Project director Chris Meale says there was wide interest from the New Zealand construction industry and Auckland Transport has appointed two Joint Venture contractors for the work; Downer NZ and Soletanche Bachy JV and Connectus (McConnell Dowell and Hawkins JV) for the first phase of design at a cost of about $3 million. The next phase will provide for a negotiated contract to construct the City Rail Link.

The Downer lead joint venture has been chosen to progress the CRL work through and under Britomart Station and Queen Street to the Downtown Shopping Centre site with construction likely to start in early 2016.

The contract includes establishing temporary accommodation for Britomart Station’s ticketing and customer service operations, underpinning the historic former Chief Post Office building, to allow the construction of the rail tunnels beneath and reinstating Britomart Station and upgrading urban space and surrounding roads.

“We are excited to have won a contract for what will be the most significant improvement to Auckland’s transport network since the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge,” says Chris Moloney of Downer.

The Connectus Consortium will construct the cut and cover tunnels under and along Albert St from Customs St to Wyndham St. The work is likely to start in October with the relocation of a major stormwater line in Albert Street between Swanson and Wellesley Streets.

“McConnell Dowell and Hawkins have a combined history of over 100 years in infrastructure construction in New Zealand. It’s enormously satisfying to be working together on a transport project that is helping to shape the future,” says Roger McRae, managing director, McConnell Dowell.
“Auckland’s population is set to grow rapidly over the next 20 years, reaching close to two million with nearly four out of every 10 New Zealanders calling the city home.”

Auckland Transport’s Chris Meale says: “We are now definitely on the way to building a key missing link in our city’s public transport network. Once completed, the CRL will turn a one way cul-de-sac rail system at Britomart, into a two way through system that will be able to carry 30,000 people an hour, providing an efficient and reliable transport choice for Aucklanders.”

In another positive I also like how they’re talking about the project in that last paragraph.