East West Con­nec­tions project rolls out

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MARY FITZGER­ALD

‘‘We recog­nise that Auck­land is grow­ing and that we need ca­pac­ity.’’

Work has of­fi­cially be­gun on a multi-mil­lion dol­lar project to speed up Auck­land traf­fic.

On Septem­ber 27 Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges and Auck­land Mayor Len Brown and Prime Min­is­ter John Key of­fi­cially ac­knowl­edged the start of One­hunga Im­prove­ments, the first stage of the East West Con­nec­tions project.

It is a joint project be­tween the New Zealand Trans­port Agency and Auck­land Trans­port. East West Con­nec­tions is a pro­gramme to im­prove freight ef­fi­ciency, com­muter travel, pub­lic trans­port, and walk­ing and cy­cling op­tions in the area be­tween One­hunga, East Ta­maki, and Auck­land Air­port over the next 30 years.

The project will im­prove ve­hi­cle ac­cess to Auck­land Air­port via State High­way 20 and will in­clude a new four-lane road along the north­ern edge of the One­hunga fore­shore.

Prime Min­is­ter John Key was on hand to see the project be­gin.

‘‘We recog­nise that Auck­land is grow­ing and that we need ca­pac­ity and we are com­mit­ted to keep in­vest­ing in our road­ing in­fra­struc­ture here,’’ he said.

Bridges said it was an ‘‘ex­cit­ing and im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment’’ for One­hunga, the ‘‘in­dus­trial heart’’ of Auck­land and of New Zealand.

‘‘It is so im­por­tant that we deal with im­prov­ing the ca­pac­ity in this area.’’

Both the south­west­ern mo­tor­way be­tween Neil­son St and Queen­stown Rd, and Neil­son St be­tween Al­fred St and An­gle St, will be widened to four lanes.

The Neil­son St rail bridge will also be re­moved to al­low bet­ter freight ac­cess.

Once this first stage is com­pleted safety and ac­ces­si­bil­ity for cy­cling and walk­ing be­tween Ma¯ngere Bridge, One­hunga, and Sylvia Park will be im­proved.

There will also be im­proved jour­ney time re­li­a­bil­ity for buses be­tween SH20 and One­hunga town cen­tre.

Ded­i­cated bus shoul­der lanes will also be added to State High­way 20 be­tween Rimu Rd and Walm­s­ley Rd.

The con­tract for One­hunga Im­prove­ments was awarded to Ful­ton Ho­gan in late Au­gust and con­struc­tion is sched­uled to fin­ish in early 2017. The project cost for the first stage is $15 mil­lion, funded by the Na­tional Land Trans­port Fund ($9 mil­lion) and Auck­land Trans­port ($6 mil­lion).

MARY FITZGER­ALD / FAIR­FAX NZ

Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges, Prime Min­is­ter John Key and Auck­land Mayor Len Brown.

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