Not Shore About This One
As technical appraisal continues of the plan to create a cycle/walk pathway under the existing Auckland Harbour Bridge, officials are working out the future beyond the present bridge.
There’s quite a bit happening in the next few months – but what has emerged amid all this is a contentious issue of allowing high occupancy vehicles and commercial vehicles on the busway from December next year.
- The contentious issue of allowing high occupancy vehicles (HOVs) on the busway and commercial vehicles such as taxis is being further considered with NZTA driving it while ‘working closely with ARTA.” A condition of funding for the Northern Busway turns out to be that HOVs were allowed once the Victoria tunnel is completed with an environment court decision for 359 HOVs an hour on the busway. All a bit of a worry. When is a busway not a busway?This is now a matter of priority as the tunnel project was brought forward to finish December 2011.
- A study of rail connecting a third Waitemata Harbour crossing through the North Shore to Orewa is to begin in the next few months. ARTA and the steering group for the next harbour crossing are presently developing draft terms of reference for the study. The steering group comprises representatives from ARTA, the ARC, Auckland, North Shore and Rodney councils, KiwiRail and NZTA.
- Work is starting on planning for an extension of the Northern Busway from Constellation to Orewa, including identifying park and ride sites. The need to protect the busway extension is now seen as a high priority. NZTA owns land in the proposed Constellation/Silverdale corridor although this isn’t sufficient to accommodate a full busway extension.
- The group is finalising a study of future transport requirements for the Albany centre. Arising from that study is an assumption that if rail is to connected with the Albany centre in the future, a central site would be preferred. The busway is seen as a prime corridor for accommodating rail in the future so an investigation of the route will take into account the locaiton of a future train station. Such a rail site may be protected as an outcome of this study.
- The Rodney council confirms that it has not yet identified a preferred busway route from Silverdale to Orewa.
- Officials have noted that the demand for carparks at the Constellation and Albany bus stations are at their capacity by early every weekday morning.
- NZTA is preparing a business case for the additional harbour crossing. A tunnel was identified earlier but the government has asked for a ‘rigorous examination’ of costs and economic impacts of both a tunnel and bridge option.
- The Auckland Harbour Pathway project is continuing its development of a case. Bevan Woodward, who is fronting the project, says the effects on the bridge structure of such a pathway are being reviewed over the next few weeks and that will be followed by a look at vibration modelling and whether any bridge strengthening would be needed. It’s hoped a design will be made public in about a month. Funding is still being worked on but the view is a charge of $4 a crossing or $1.95 for those with a smart card as well, as some form of naming rights that wouldn‘t not involve external signage on the bridge.