Proposal to unclog Onehunga traffic welcomed
The acceleration of work to unclog Onehunga’s traffic network has been welcomed by those who advocate for better transport links.
Prime Minister John Key last week announced an unexpected slew of spending on Auckland’s infrastructure, including a speeding up of the work which will see the EastWest link become a reality sooner than first proposed.
In Friday’s speech Mr Key outlined his reasons for wanting to bring plans forward.
The Government has asked the New Zealand Transport Agency to tell it which elements of AMETI – the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative – and the East-West Link can be accelerated with additional funding and how that funding can best be targeted across both projects.
‘‘The area between Onehunga, Mt Wellington and East Tamaki is home to a number of industrial and logistics businesses that make a critical contribution to the Auckland and national economy,’’ Mr Key said.
‘‘About as many people are employed here as in the CBD and there is considerable potential for more growth. However, the transport links in and out of this area aren’t up to the job.
‘‘Truck drivers have told us they can get stuck in congestion at any time during the working day and a sevenminute trip between Metroport and the Onehunga wharf can take as long as 40 minutes.
‘‘In combination with AMETI, the East-West Link will improve connections to the state highway network, primarily along the Neilson St corridor, and upgrade the links connecting to the eastern suburbs and East Tamaki industrial area.
‘‘Resolving the transport problems in this part of Auckland is the Government’s next major focus for the Auckland transport network.’’
National Road Carriers executive director David Aitken welcomed the announcement as ‘‘great news’’.
He agreed Neilson St con- gestion is at the heart freight sector concerns.
‘‘Even more positive is his confirmation that of Auckland’s three highest priority transport infrastructure investment projects, the Government’s next major focus is to resolve the transport problems associated with the AMETI and East-West Link.’’
Long-time Onehunga advocate Jim Jackson says it is good to see the Government realise Onehunga’s importance as a business centre.
‘‘The announcements are a great start to linking these
of very important parts of Auckland’s business communities, in particular the proposed East-West link between State Highway 20 and Highbrook.
‘‘This area has the most expensive industrial land in New Zealand and employs a lot of people. It is these businesses and the employees that are the economic engine room of the country.’’
He says the development also offers the potential to improve cycling and pedestrian access and conduct transmission lines and gas and sewer lines.