Preliminary work for Auckland’s largest infrastructure project, the City Rail Link (CRL) started today with a dawn blessing of the work site by Manawhenua.
About 80 people gathered in the still of the morning on the corner of Victoria and Albert Streets in the central city as kaumatua blessed the worksite between Swanson and Wellesley Streets where the first part of the $2.5billion project has begun.
CRL project director Chris Meale says the start of work was a great milestone for AT and the project team.
“Today was a celebration, but for most Aucklanders, the first piece of work will be largely invisible. A replacement stormwater pipe will be built under Albert Street so that the existing one can be removed when work on the CRL tunnels starts in the middle of next year.”
Those gathered, including Mayor Len Brown, acknowledged that it was a day that Aucklanders have been contemplating for almost a century.
“In 1923 Railways Minister Gordon Coates gave his support for a city-to-Morningside underground rail line that never happened. In the 1970s, Mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson's rapid-rail proposal met a similar fate,” says the mayor.
“Today’s blessing means that in the coming months, Aucklanders will see the CRL starting to take shape”.
Mr Meale says when the works started in earnest midway through next year, people would have to think about how they travel to and through the city.
“Public transport or active modes will be wisest but for those who don’t have that option, using parking buildings closest to city entry points will be sensible rather than driving through the city”, says Mr Meale.