Aucklanders are being asked to share their views about a future harbour crossing.
Transport Minister Michael Wood said a key part of expanding the city’s rapid transport network would be understanding what residents wanted.
Rapid transit was already moving thousands of people around the city each day, using the Northern Busway, the Eastern Busway and the existing rail network, he said.
“This study will look at future options for people wanting to drive, walk, cycle, transport freight, take the bus or perhaps travel by light rail across the Waitematā Harbour. This will support us to confirm what new infrastructure is needed to cater for these modes, where it will go, and how to make the best use of our existing infrastructure, including the Auckland Harbour Bridge,” Wood said in a statement.
The Alternative Waitematā Harbour Connection, alongside the Auckland Light Rail project, would form the spine an integrated transport network, he said.
Wood said planning for the crossing had now been brought forward.
Waka Kotahi is holding a series of community engagement events before the end of the year.
A preferred option and recommendations will be delivered by mid next year, with a full business case expected to be completed by early 2024.
Another harbour crossing not a priority for Auckland mayor
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown said it was encouraging that the government was asking Aucklanders what they wanted from a harbour crossing.
But he said another crossing was decades away and was not a priority for him.
He said his immediate transport concerns were getting more bus drivers into the country; preventing two years of disruption to commuter train services; fast-tracking the North-western and Eastern busways and getting a completion date and cost for the City Rail Link.
Brown is urging Aucklanders to reply constructively to the government’s online survey.
Meanwhile, the Green Party said the next Waitematā Harbour crossing must be climate-friendly.
Spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said that started at the construction phase.
“Huge amounts of carbon can be embedded in transport infrastructure projects especially things like tunnels and highways, so it’s really important we’re considering not just the emissions of people using the infrastructure but the emissions going into building the infrastructure, because we have a limited carbon budget left.”
One thing that could be done immediately to improve transport in Auckland, was to free up a lane on the harbour bridge for walking and cycling, she said.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz