Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere will drop the discriminatory Goff Gas Tax, prioritise road and rail projects, kick start a new harbour crossing and sack the Auckland Transport Board when he wins October’s local body election.
Releasing his Road & Rail Transport policy, Tamihere said it was vital Auckland gets moving. The policy covers road, rail, ferries, cyclists and park ‘n’ rides facilities and has been peer reviewed by transport industry bosses.
Under Phil Goff and AT, Auckland had become the City of Snails. But under Tamihere, Auckland priority projects will be “put on steroids so the city is open for business 24/7.
“It will take multi modal approach that includes track, road and more park and rides,”Tamihere said. “Plus the Goff Gas Tax will be GONE and so will the AT Board.”
His new harbour crossing is not going to cost $10 billion – as stated by Goff.
“This is scare and smear tactics from a politician who done nothing as a MP or as mayor,” Tamihere said. “He has made this number up.
“When I get the mandate from Aucklanders in October, I will head to Wellington to start a new conversation. I will not go to Wellington to get my instructions, like the present guy.My instructions will come from the people of Auckland.”
Major traffic choke points will be given priority status.
“There are investors wanting to invest in park and ride facilities that will help get this city out of grid lock,” Tamihere said. “This is not an anti-car policy and priority roading like Penlink and Mill Road, will give ratepayers who commute from Warkworth, Wellsford, and Kumeu and from the south on via Mill Road respite.”
What is ATAP – the Auckland Transport Alignment Programme?
It is a deal between central government and Auckland Council to spend $28 billion on transport in Auckland between 2019 and 2028?
How much of the $28 billion comes from Auckland and how much from Wellington?
At the moment $10 billion from Auckland and $18 billion from Wellington. If elected Mayor I willreduce Auckland’s contribution and increase Wellington’s.
Why are Mill Road, Penlink, Puhoi to Wellsford, the Kumeu bypass and the Port Access important?
These roads are key to Auckland’s future. The increase in the population of Auckland means that, even with world class public transport, excellent roading infrastructure is an absolute necessity to allow people to go about their daily lives without undue transport delays, and to keep the wheels of industry and commerce turning.
Where will the money come from to make up for abolishing the Auckland petrol tax?
How much can Park and Ride contribute to help Auckland moving?
Lots. Park and Ride has been ignored by successive administrations. There’s an opportunity for30 privately funded new and improved Park and Ride facilities.
Is congestion charging really on the cards?
After measuring congestion and consulting with Aucklanders, if congestion is the only way to make sure that commercial and critical private journeys are made, congestion charging must follow. Congestion charging would mean that a person with two low income jobs and child care commitments would be able to get where to they need to go, when they need to go there. People on high incomes often have flexibility in their work lives – low income workers don’t.
Has NZTA considered your East-West Link route.
Briefly. In the process of preparing their application for the route that was granted resource consent, NZTA considered an elevated road, but did not give it further consideration as it decided the on and off ramps would not be feasible. That decision was wrong. Motorway on and off ramps are all over Auckland and can easily be built in the locations required for my East-West Link route.
Will it disrupt business?
Will it have adverse effects on the environment?
Negligible. The proposed NZTA route would have significant more adverse environmental effects.
How will housing development and transport be integrated?
No new housing areas will be permitted without a plan that has transport policy and will be provided at the same time as the construction of new homes – not after consents are approved.
What about busses?
Auckland’s bus service under my mayoralty will be made better. I will investigate the possibility of building the central city bus terminal that is missing from downtown Auckland.
Isn’t Westgate and the West missing out in your plan?
The western rail line will deliver world class transport to the people of the west including those in Kumeu. Improvements to the road shoulder bus lanes along the North Western Motorway – as was done on the Northern Motorway in the years before the Northern Busway was built – must be part of the solution. Regular express busses from Westgate to the CBD must be on the agenda.
Will the current Light Rail proposal down Dominion Road be built?
The benefits of the proposal does not justify the cost. Money spent on the Light Rail proposal would be wasted. I will make the most of every cent spent on my watch.
You are proposing 49km of rail extensions, what will that cost?
The best way to get indicative costing is to look as similar projects that have been completed or have been budgeted based on completed projects. Since 1990 over 100km of electrified rail has been built in Perth, including a number of rail tunnels, with the same 3’6’’ track gauge as NewZealand. In 2018 the Western Australian State Government budgeted a combined total of $1,056 million for two 14.5km rail extensions, which is around AU$37m per km /NZ$40m per km. The planned extensions in Perth are on rail reserves ready for construction. As some of the rail in Auckland will be built on road through the CBD, on elevated structures near the airport and in two short tunnels we consider that NZ$80m per km is an appropriate costing, $4 billion for the 49km. We have added 25% ($1 billion) for cost increases and other costs a total of $5 billion. We have added 20% ($1 billion) to the subtotal for contingency bringing the total to $6 billion for the 49km expansion.
Does this include rail vehicles and other costs?
Yes, similar to the costings from Western Australia.
How much money is available for rail in Auckland?
ATAP has allowed $8.4 billion for bus and rail infrastructure. It is as sufficient to expand the rail network as outlined, and to complete other projects.
How long will it take?
I am committed to completing the new rail by 2028. Services may start as early as 2025 by which stage the CRL should be open.
Around 80% of the build will be new tracks on undeveloped land set aside for rail e.g. alongside the motorway through Mount Roskill, or on Greenfield land between for instance, the Auckland Airport and Wiri. Building railways and railway stations on undeveloped land can be relatively quick. 49km of track can be built in 9 years.
Will the new track be heavy rail tracks or light rail tracks?
All new rail will be built to Kiwirail’s mainline standards except in some places like the Auckland Harbour Bridge which will include 5% rather than 1%, and some turns in the CBD will be 30m radius rather than 100m. If future multi-billion dollar developments bypass these tight corners andsteep grades, Kiwirail’s freight trains could operate on all the new rail track to be built over the next9 years.
You say tram-trains will run on the new rail, what are tram-trains?
Tram-trains are trains that are designed to operate on main line railways with other trains and on street rails with road traffic. Tram-trains can turn sharp corners, climb steep tracks and have enhanced braking to enable quick stopping.
Where are tram-trains used?
Tram-trains have been used for 30 years in Karlsruhe, Manchester, Paris and Salt Lake City.
Does using tram-train rule out future use of Light Rail?
No, but with tram-trains operating in the CBD, any new street track that a future generation may build, would almost certainly be for tram-trains so that Auckland’s integrated rail system can be extended further. If future generations decide to build street rail in Dominion Road or any other road in Auckland, tram-train would be able to operate on the new rails, and link into the system we intend to build in the next 9 years.
Why use tram-trains on the extensions rather than trains?
Auckland’s trains can neither climb the 5% grade of the AHB nor turn the 30m radius curves in theCBD, so fit for purpose tram-trains are needed.
What is the passenger capacity of tram-trains?
Auckland’s tram-trains will have the same dimensions as Auckland’s trains and so will have thesame passenger capacity.
How long will tram-trains be?
The standard unit will be 72 metres long, the same as Auckland’s commuter trains, but with sixsections rather than 3 to allow for sharp cornering. Tram-trains will be able to run in series as out trains do.
Who will manufacture the tram-trains?
The contract would be put out to tender.
Was the Minister of Transport and NZTA informed of the proposal?
Phil Twyford was briefed of the tram-train proposal in November 2017. At the Minister’s suggestion NZTA staff were met with during 2018 and briefed on the proposal.
Was Kiwirail informed of the proposal?
Executives were briefed on the proposal.
Do you support Kiwirail advise that to allow for express services; a fourth main rail line between Westfield and Wiri, a third and ultimately fourth main line between Wiri and Papakura, and a third main line between Papakura and Pukekohe should all be build?
Absolutely. Those are critically important pieces of national infrastructure and I will ensure that central government funds their construction.
Why not use fast tilt-train for Provincial Rail rather than tram-trains?
Britomart is at capacity in peak hours now. The CRL is predicted to be at capacity in peak hours from soon after it opens. The only way we can get Provincial Rail services into the CBD is by using tram-trains. Expensive tilt-trains are not required for the speeds that will be attained with provincial rail.
Can tram-trains really go 150km/hr?
A tram-train is just a train designed with the capability to go around sharp corners. Being able togo around sharp corners doesn’t make a tram-train any slower than a train. The Electroliner was a tram-train that operated between Milwaukee and Chicago between 1941 and 1963. TheElectroliners travelled through the city streets of Milwaukee and other towns, on the El in Chicago and on a dedicated track at up to 150 km/hr. Today’s manufacturers will bid on the contract tobuild tram-trains to run on Auckland’s existing and new rail.
Will regular trains provide some Provincial Rail services?
Yes. If for, operational reasons, is it useful to use regular trains for some Provincial Rail services, then that will happen. Regular trains would have to drop off and pick up at Mt Eden Station as the CRL is likely to be full with commuter trains from soon after opening. If some slots can be made available then some provincial trains could use the CRL.
New Harbour Crossing Q&A
Is it really possible to replace the current bridge with a superstructure?
Yes. The Milton-Madison Bridge between Ohio and Kentucky was built in 1929 as a 2 lane, 6 m wide superstructure – the same length as the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It was replaced by a new 13.5 m wide superstructure for traffic cycles and pedestrians. The method is scalable and our engineering advice is that it is entirely possible, with conventional engineering techniques, to replace one 4 lane and two 2 lane superstructures with one 10 lane wide superstructure with two levels.
Who says so?
University of Auckland Associate Professor Charles Clifton has been giving advice on the proposal since 2014. His opinion is the plan is ambitious, challenging but feasible. Dr Clifton is NewZealand’s leading expert on steel construction. Please see email from Dr Clifton at the end of this Q&A. Other bridge engineers have agreed but they work for companies that do not make public comments on proposed major projects.
Will the new superstructure have 18 lanes?
The new AHB superstructure with have 10 lanes, 2 footpaths, 2 cycleways and 4 rail tracks.
Surely it will disrupt road traffic.
There will be planned closures – likely between off peak times, like Christmas and New Year whenever possible. The Newmarket Viaduct was replaced with massive traffic disruption, including closing SH1. There was disruption; the disruption was worth it.
How many major closures will there be?
Definitely two and possibly 3 major closures, for only 3 to 5 days over the Xmas period lull. The first to move approaches to the new superstructure in its temporary location. The second to move the superstructure to its permanent location on the existing piers and a possible third to pour the final concrete deck a year after the second closure.
Have NZTA assessed the possibility of replacing the AHB superstructure?
They have not considered replacing the AHB superstructure. It is not in the long list of 160 options considered in a 2008 NZTA report.
Has NZTA seen the proposal?
Phil Twyford was in November 2017. At the Minister’s suggestion NZTA staff were met with during 2018 and briefed on the proposal.
The Milton-Madison example you have given us is only a four lane single level bridge. Is 10 lanes on two levels really possible?
These days’ even buildings can be moved if needed. For example the fragile Bird Cage pub was moved 40 metres, and then moved the same 40 metres back again. The fragile Cornish Pumphouse in Waihi was moved 300 metres. The new AHB superstructure will not be fragile; it will be designed and built so that, once the original piers are ready for it, it can readily be moved the about 40 metres to its permanent location on the original piers.
What will the superstructure replacement cost?
The Milton-Madison superstructure replacement replaced a single 6 metre wide, 1,000 metre long bridge deck with a 13.5 metre wide bridge deck. The cost was $103.7m in 2014; approx. NZ$ 200 million in 2019 dollars which is approx. NZ$14,000 per square metre (sqm) of bridge deck. The AHB replacement will create 70,000 sqm of deck @ $14,000 per sqm amounts to a total of $980 million. To that we have added 50% – , $500 million – to allow for increases in costs over the time of the build and increased costs for the project being in NZ; total $1.5 billion. We have also added a 33% contingency, a further $500 million, bringing the total cost to not more than $2 billion. This is a very conservative costing. Bridges are usually costed in New Zealand at around $5,000 per sqm of deck including the cost of foundations and piers.
Is that good value for money?
Something has to be done about the AHB, and done now. Pedestrian and cycle ways are needed now. The clip-ons may not be able to take heavy trucks after 2030 and the busway may also be at capacity. The only plan in place is to consider building a tunnel in the 2040s for who knows what cost? The AHB superstructure replacement can be completed in six years as part of the $18 billion available for major transport infrastructure projects in Auckland.
Will the superstructure replacement process be safe?
Superstructure replacement is a common process and safe methods are well practised. Developments in computing and in sensors mean that every aspect of the bridge can be monitored in real time and adjusted as necessary.
Why not build a new bridge?
A new bridge would cost at least $4 billion at minimum and take a decade to build. A second harbour bridge would adversely affect the aesthetics of the Waitemata Harbour and of the existing bridge. Having two harbour bridges would create complicated road interchanges on either side of the bridge which would have adverse effects on the environment including the likely need for significant sea reclamation which is contrary to the Auckland Unitary Plan. Replacing the superstructure will cost no more than $2 billion, can be completed in 6 years and will have negligible adverse effects.
Why not make the replacement look different to the 1959 original?
The 1959 original is a mid-century classic and an icon of Auckland. There is no need to change the appearance of the bridge. There is only the need to make the bridge fit for purpose for the 21stcentury and beyond.
Why not replace the clip-ons?
Auckland needs one fit for purpose superstructure that provides all the connectivity that is possible on the St Mary’s Bay to Northcote alignment. Replacing the clip-ons would provide less capacity, may cost more and take longer to build and would make it difficult – if not impossible to include rail, and would retain the current divided carriage ways which are not as safe as undivided carriageways.
Why 4 rail lanes?
Initially only two lines will be needed. However if there is a desire to provide street based services to Northcote and Birkenhead, they would be of such a frequency as to interfere with the very frequent tram-trains heading to and from Albany and beyond.
Will houses on Stokes Point have to be compulsorily acquired?
Some residential land will be required for the replacement project. NZTA avoids compulsory acquisition and is experienced in purchasing private properties that are required for national transport infrastructure projects. Once the project is complete any land acquired for the project may stay in public ownership.
Won’t the superstructure replacement be unbearably disruptive for the residents ofNorthcote Point?
Everything will be done to minimise disruption.
Where will pedestrians and cyclists enter and exit the bridge on Northcote Point?
NZTA is currently consulting on this. One option I am interested to consider is if the area around the old Auckland Harbour Bridge Trust Board building and toll booths can be redeveloped to maximise public space and be the place where cyclists and pedestrian enter and exit the AHB on the North Shore.
How would rail, pedestrian and cycle ways connect to the ground on St Marys Bay and in Northcote?
Attractive on and off ramps will be designed for rail, cycle paths and footpaths. I am looking at the old toll both area as the main junction point on the Northcote side, and there are a number ofoptions on the St Mary’s Bay side. The eastern and western cycle and pedestrian ways will likelyconnect to eastern and western sides of the bridge at both ends of the bridge.
How will the superstructure replacement effect Skypath?
With two cycleways and two walkways on the upper level of the new superstructure.
Will the new AHB superstructure have the same sized footprint as the existing bridge in StMary’s Bay and on Stokes Point?
Yes. The road approach to and egress from the AHB is already wide enough to accommodate 10 lanes of traffic, so the new superstructure will not require wider approaches or egresses.
Will the motorways to the north and south of the bridge have to be widened?
No. At the moment there are 10 motorway lanes leading to the south side of the AHB and 10 lanes leading to the north of the AHB but only 8 lanes on the AHB itself necessitating the use of the movable median strip and tidal flow traffic control. With the new 10 lane superstructure in place the SH1 to the south of the AHB, over the AHB and to the north of the AHB will all be 10 lanes.
How quickly can the new AHB superstructure be in place?
We are committed to completing the project by 2025 – 6 years.
Will it be difficult to get resource consent for such a large project?
Not very. Whilst it is a big project, because we are replacing like with like there will be minimal adverse effects on the environment apart from effects during the construction phase. Careful planning will be needed for the construction, but the planning will be done right, and that will make it relatively straightforward to get resource consent. Please see opinion from resource management barrister Kitt Littlejohn at the end of this Q&A.
What will happen to the movable barrier and the elephant houses?
They will be removed.
Is there a plan to build a tunnel?
There is a plan – if the money can be found at the time. Central government and Council’s current position on the tunnel is: “Current investigation work into an additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing needs to be completed to provide more certainty about the optimal timing, modal mix, configuration and operation of the crossing. Consistent with earlier ATAP work construction is not anticipated to commence until at least the late 2030s.” The estimate of the cost of the tunnel is $ 4 billion plus. With the very high rate of major infrastructure construction inflation by the late 2030s the currently proposed tunnel may be unaffordable.
Would replacing the superstructure rule out a future tunnel?
If future generations decide to build a tunnel, having a fit for purpose AHB now won’t hinder any such plan. With a fit for purpose AHB in place possibilities such as a rail tunnel between the eastern CBD and Devonport can be explored.
Why are you talking about the AHB when it is NZTA’s responsibility?
Under the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009 the Mayor of Auckland’s role is to
“articulate and promote a vision for Auckland; and provide leadership for the purpose of achieving objectives that will contribute to that vision.” If elected I will have the mandate to negotiate what central government agencies do in Auckland, including that NZTA replaces the AHB
superstructure because Auckland and New Zealand needs it.
Who will build it?
The contract will be tendered on the international market and is likely to attract great interest from experienced engineering and construction firms.