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Busway extension proposed

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 18/07/2013
Bus
Peter Eley

MOVING FORWARD: The NZTA is looking at extending the Northern Busway in two stages, up to Silverdale.

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Extending the Northern Busway up to Silverdale could cost up to $550 million.

But one public transport advocate says it is a small price to pay to unclog Auckland's roads.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has proposed extending the busway in two stages - from Constellation Rd to Albany and then to Silverdale.

Estimates for the extensions sit around $250m and $300m, respectively.

The report was released under the Official Information Act to a reader of Auckland Transport Blog, which then published it online.

The extension would continue along the east side with a small motorway overbridge connecting to Albany station, according to the report.

It would include provisions for rail "should this be required in the future".

Also considered are three lanes in each direction on State Highway 1 up to Silverdale, the SH1 to SH18 connection, Greville Rd interchange upgrade, the Penlink project and the Hibiscus Coast Bus Station.

Auckland Transport Blog writer Matt Lowrie says the cost is not a lot considering some of the billion-dollar City Rail Link and the second harbour crossing projects.

Mr Lowrie says the original 6.5km busway cost $220m - not including stations.

NZTA says the Constellation to Albany extension is a higher priority due to congestion on the motorway network at peak times.

Auckland Harbour Bridge bus patronage has increased 22.5 per cent in the last nine years, NZTA says.

Due to improvements to bus and transit lanes in other parts of the North Shore, NZTA reports a decline in car numbers crossing the bridge.

Mr Lowrie says high quality alternatives see commuters ditch their cars.

The first stage could be "economically justified" by 2015, the report says, with the entire project justified by 2019.

Go to transportblog.co.nz.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORT

The Waitemata tunnel to the North Shore should be rail only, a transport blogging collective says.

Auckland Transport Blog has been covering transport issues since 2008.

Writers collaborated with Generation Zero on the Congestion-Free Network.

It is an integrated transport plan encouraging discussion as many people do not realise what Auckland's transport system could look like, blogger Matt Lowrie says.

Mr Lowrie says making the tunnel crossing rail only will encourage more people to use it.

And Mr Lowrie believes it could be delivered for significantly less money than what is proposed over the next 30 years. 

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