Milestones reached for vital transportation projects

Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the opening of tender processes for Auckland’s light rail and additional connections project at Waitematā Port, marking a milestone in the development of a future-proof rapid transit network that will serve generations of Aucklanders.

“These two crucial projects represent a huge investment in a growing Auckland, enabling faster travel and lower emissions, made possible by this government’s strong commitment to making Auckland a thriving city where people have real options for getting around the city safely, but they choose to travel by car, public transport, bicycle or on foot,” said Michael Wood.

“Progress on these transformational projects follows the Government’s announcement in late January to bring forward planning for the Port of Waitematā Additional Connections project to ensure a fully integrated transport network for Auckland, with faster journeys and reduced emissions.

“As I said at the time, decisive leadership is needed to develop the rapid transit network that should have been built decades ago. By making a clear decision on the future of Auckland’s tram and integrating it with the additional Waitemata crossing, we are now able to take the next step in creating the network that will connect hundreds of thousands of people. through the city.

“The Auckland Light Rail project will provide a 24km route with up to 18 stations or stops from the city center to Māngere and the airport, running every five minutes and capable of carrying up to 15,000 passengers. per hour at peak times – four times as many passengers as a dedicated bus lane or trackless trams. The route will include a light rail tunnel from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill, continuing above ground to the airport parallel to the SH20 highway, with the provision of safe walking and cycling options along along the corridor and with connections to all stations.

“The light rail line will also be integrated with existing rail and bus hubs and City Rail Link stations and connections, bringing Auckland’s transport infrastructure into the 21st century, enabling faster journeys and lower emissions. . City Rail Link is the heart of Auckland’s transport network, and Light Rail will form the backbone of what will be a fully integrated rapid transit network that will take us into the future.

“The light rail can also be extended to the North Shore and the North-West without having to switch from one line to another. This transformation project will also help create up to 97,000 new jobs by 2051.

“It is positive to see the investment certainty brought by the government’s commitment to build Auckland’s light rail. This week we saw Auckland Airport announce the development of a $300m+ transport hub, which will specifically take care of future rapid transit to the airport. By pursuing this project, we are giving companies the certainty to make important business decisions now, to plan for critical infrastructure.

The tendering process for the Auckland Light Rail is coordinated with the tendering process for the Port of Waitematā Additional Connections project, to ensure that the industry professionals who plan and design these projects are able to best plan the pipeline of upcoming infrastructure works. through Aotearoa.

The Port of Waitematā Additional Connections project will provide reliable, efficient and sustainable transport options across the port, expanding the city’s existing rapid transit network, completing a strategic walk and cycle connection for Auckland and making the more resilient urban road network. Planning work on the Waitematā Connections project will begin later this year, with a preferred path forward determined by the end of 2023.

“Auckland’s population is expected to reach two million by the early 2030s. In order to move two million people around our biggest city safely and efficiently, we need well-planned and connected infrastructure. We’re not going to repeat previous mistakes of ad hoc planning and find ourselves scrambling to build infrastructure when it’s too late – this rapid transit system aims to ensure Auckland can prosper as it goes. its growth,” said Michael Wood.

The government’s investment in regional infrastructure also continues to yield results with today’s opening of the Kawakawa roundabout, marking the official completion of $21.5 million in national highway improvements. for Northland.

“This series of improvements to Northland’s highways will boost productivity and save lives,” said Michael Wood.

“Upgrading the roundabout has resolved many issues that concerned locals – dangerous and risky maneuvers have ceased, queues are reduced and frustrations have eased.

“The area also now has dedicated paths separated from the road to keep those walking or cycling separated and clear of vehicles.”

“Along with the improvements at Kawakawa, intersection improvements have also been made at Puketona Junction and Rawene Road as part of the New Zealand Government’s upgrade programme.

“These roundabouts are both located on the Twin Coast Discovery Route, Northland’s main tourist artery. By improving traffic, we are also increasing tourism opportunities in the region and reducing delays for the freight industry which helps supply the hotels and restaurants that visitors rely heavily on.

“Security upgrades including new seals and road markings have also been made at the intersection of SH12 and Rawene Road, which is a key gateway for the community and tourists. visiting Rawene and connecting with communities through the port of Hokianga, via the ferry,” said Michael Wood. .

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