Faster than expected growth see Penlink brought forward
Penlink and other roading projects are being brought forward to ease congestion on Hibiscus Coast and Rodney roads after the Government and Auckland Council realised the impact growth was having on the areas, leaked documents show.
An updated version of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) was leaked to Labour's Phil Twyford, who gave a copy to Radio New Zealand.
The document states since ATAP was completed last year higher than expected population growth and more clarification on the location of of future growth impacted the timing of investments required to accommodate the growth.
The report identifies around $2.9 billion of additional investment is likely to be required in the first decade of ATAP. 2018-2028, to address the faster growth.
To address accelerated growth in the north the area will receive investment of $840m to combat associated transport challenges and congestion.
To ease pressure on the Silverdale interchange and provide an alternative route from the Whangaparaoa Peninsula $240m has been allocated for Penlink, which will see a smaller two-lane version of the project provided, future proofed for widening at a later stage.
Warkworth, Silverdale and Wainui see 300m brought forward for arterial roads to enable greenfield growth in the areas. Some of these roads will have been identified for investment through the recently Special Purpose Vehicle, Crown Infrastructure Partners.
Upgrades to State Highway 1 between Albany and Grand Drive in Orewa will see $300m invested.
This could include bus shoulder lanes and associated infrastructure, an additional northbound lane to the future Penlink exit to reduce afternoon congestion, and exploring opportunities to advance sections of a full busway between Silverdale and Grand Drive, the report said.
Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt welcomed the news of the smaller version of Penlink, the additional northbound lane on SH1 to ease congestion and other funding for roading projects.
"It's great news. There is a heap of improvements that have been brought in to the first decade.
"They appeared to have really centred into the argument that we have been putting forward as a local board that the congestion coming from Whangaparaoa is really clogging up and making Silverdale suffer," she said.
Parfitt said she would have preferred to see a four lane road, but understood there was significant future proofing going into the initial two lane project, to allow it to happen.
"The bridge span part of it is the extremely expensive part of the project, so maybe we could have clip-ons, we've done it before with the in Auckland with the Harbour Bridge."
Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Barnett, who has been championing the Penlink cause said a reworked two-lane Penlink significantly reduced the costs and improved the cost to benefit ratio of the toll road.
"For every dollar spent around $5 of benefit would be generated."
But he said the while it helped the project get an early start it showed a lack of long-term thinking.
"As has happened many times in Auckland, we are likely to be coming back in 10 years time to add the two extra lanes and a clip-on bridge," he said.