City Rail Link `doubles capacity' in west
EMMA WHITTAKER AND JAMES IRELAND
The capacity of West Auckland's train system is set to double after the $2.56 billion City Rail Link is completed in 2021.
The plans released by Auckland Transport show the new route will join Britomart with Mt Eden before connecting to the western line.
Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton says the project will benefit the whole city.
"The City Rail Link will allow people from New Lynn or Henderson to get into the city in half the time they are currently travelling so it will open the city up to a far bigger catchment of people coming into the city.
"I think we really need to emphasise that this is not a CBD loop per se.
"It's not just about going around the centre city. It is about the city being linked to the rest of Auckland," he says.
Mayor Len Brown says the council is still investigating funding options but he hopes the Government will provide half the money needed.
Mr Brown says the Government has acknowledged the strategic importance of the project by supporting council moves to protect the rail link's route as outlined in the 2012/2013 budget.
He said the rail link could be partly financed through tolls and congestion taxes on Auckland motorways.
The passageway will extend the existing rail line underground through Britomart to Albert St, Vincent St and Pitt St, then cross beneath Karangahape Rd and the Central Motorway Junction, over to Symonds St before rising above ground to join the western line at Eden Terrace.
Labour's spokesperson for transport Phil Twyford says the rail loop will bring Auckland into the 21st century.
"There's been a bit of a misunderstanding, what's much more important than what it will do for the central city is that it will double the capacity in west and south Auckland. This means that during peak times we will be able to have trains going every five minutes. It also means that properties next to train stations will dramatically increase in value," he says.
The rail loop will be built in two 3.5km long twin tunnels up to 45 metres below the city. Auckland Transport says as much as possible it will be built below city streets to reduce the effects on property owners and heritage buildings.
New stations will be built in Beresford Square near Karangahape Rd, Newton and near Aotea Square.
The works require 280 properties to be purchased – both above and below the ground. Auckland Transport is contacting land owners who will be affected.
Much of the above-ground work will be along Albert St and toward Mt Eden.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Have the new speed limit rules made you change your driving habits?