‘Vision’ wanted for Onehunga link
Plans for construction of the newly accelerated East-West Link have been branded as not ‘‘visionary’’ enough to really solve the congestion issues in Onehunga.
But others are welcoming the opportunity to have their say on how to unlock the potential of an area that employs 60,000 people and contributes 18 per cent of Auckland’s GDP.
The process of engaging the wider community on how best to unclog Onehunga’s Church and Neilson streets began with a public meeting attended by 200 business people from what was described as New Zealand’s ‘‘industrial heartland’’ last week.
Auckland Transport has put together four possible options for speeding up journey times in, out and through the Onehunga area and presented them to the business community at the meeting.
Since the government announcement last month that the East-West Link and the AMETI project are the highest priorities behind the City Rail Link, Auckland Transport has turned serious attention to the fasttracked job.
A business case needs to be established by the end of this year.
Transport planner Ian Blundell says the four options are not rigid and the final plan is likely to combine a mix of elements from all four plans.
‘‘We are right at the start [of planning] and we are willing to talk with key stakeholders on this,’’ Mr Blundell told the meeting.
‘‘We’d like to find ways to bring it forward, and we hope to have a business case by the end of the year so we have to move quickly.
‘‘The preferred option will likely be a pick and mix, taking the best of each and creating a said.
Onehunga identity Jim Jackson, of the Onehunga Enhancement Society said the presented plans lacked vision and appeared to show motorways being built over ‘‘very expensive industrial land’’.
Others were more complimentary.
One man said the ‘‘precious hours’’ of too many people were being sucked up by congestion and it was good to see steps being taken.
National Road Carriers Association chairman Chris Carr said the consultation Auckland Transport is running is a golden opportunity to contribute.
Having buy-in from the government, Auckland Council and both Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency was almost unheard-of.
‘‘This is an amazing result. There has not been this kind of consultation before and it’s amazing that you have the option here to do it,’’ Mr Carr said.
‘‘The go-ahead for this was three weeks ago. We should be pleased – this is way ahead of anything we’ve ever had before.’’
Busy stretch: Neilson St is a major freight corridor.