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Decision must be made on second bridge

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012

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Delaying plans for a second harbour crossing between North Shore and the city will leave Auckland struggling to cope with a boom in traffic congestion, George Wood says.

The North Shore councillor requested a report on the Waitemata Harbour crossing project from the New Zealand Transport Agency at the latest Auckland Council transport committee meeting.

The report is due in February.

Mr Wood says the proposal is part of The Auckland Plan and will be finished by 2025.

The bridge will cost an estimated $3.9 billion and $5.4 billion for a tunnel, he says.

Both include rail options to the North Shore.

No decision on either has been made. But Mr Woods says issues surrounding both need to be addressed before the decision is made.

The new connection would join Esmonde Rd but bypass Onewa Rd commuters, he says.

One proposal is to toll commuters who use the new harbour crossing between $2 and $8 which will push many on to the current toll-free bridge, he says.

Mr Wood favours a tunnel, saying its environmental and visual impacts on the Shore, particularly Northcote Pt, will not be as significant as a second bridge.

A bridge would "look pretty ghastly" and "it's a matter of getting all these difficult questions sorted" first, he says.

He says the tunnel would stretch past the central city whereas a bridge would only service the CBD.

He says North Shore residents need to put pressure on local politicians to get it to the top of the council's agenda.

Construction on the tunnel would begin April 1, 2019 or the bridge on January 1, 2021. Both would be completed on December 31 2025 and open January 1, 2026.

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