Friday, 12th March, 2021
Auckland Business Forum
Outcome: Integrated Transport Network
Media Release: 12 March 2021
The High Court dismissal of appeals against the East-West Link project is good news and opens the way for the project to be returned to Auckland’s transport priority list.
The existing designation granted in January 2018 will remain in place, but the project is still being reviewed to evaluate whether it aligns with the new priorities and strategic direction set out by the Government.
COVID-related transport demands and delays reinforce the need to quickly complete the review and get back the momentum generated by the Waterview Tunnels opened in 2018, said Auckland Business Forum chair, Michael Barnett.
The Southdown Rail Freight Terminal – where cargo from Port of Tauranga is transferred – is at the heart of the East West Link. Together with nearby distribution businesses and freight delivered to-from Ports of Auckland, completion of an integrated package of the East West Link and the third main rail line between Wiri and Westfield is a high priority.
“Like the Waterview Tunnels, it needs to be a true East West link, not another road that moves congestion from one area to another.” As one of Auckland’s worst congestion spots, the area costs millions of dollars and time delays to major companies distributing across Auckland and the upper North Island.
There are thousands of firms generating $10 billion or 16% of Auckland’s GDP per year, employing 70,000 people in the Onehunga/Mt Wellington area.
Around 6000 heavy trucks, or one truck every 10 seconds, pass through the Church – Neilson street intersection every working day. The Rail Freight Terminal processes more than 400,000 containers a year. The final delivery of each container is by truck, but the current local road system is not fit for purpose.
Barnett: We must heed the lessons from the Waterview Tunnel. It took 50 years to complete the route and just one day to realise significant benefits such as:
- Commuters getting back 40-50 minutes in their day
- Trades, freight and commercial firms managing an extra job or delivery
- More reliable travel from the North Shore to the Airport
- Local Waterview roads returned to their community
Like Waterview, the east-west link to service industrial Penrose-Southdown and the rail head, has been on Auckland’s books since the 1960s. The benefits of the East West Link are similar to Waterview taking trucks off Onehunga community streets, reducing congestion and increasing reliability of travel and delivery.
For more information contact Michael Barnett on 0275 631 150