Auckland Transport (AT) is today launching the draft design and asking Aucklanders for their feedback about the next stage of the Eastern Busway project, a 5km stretch linking Pakuranga and Botany.
The release of the design and consultation period comes as the Panmure to Pakuranga section of the Eastern Busway is nearing completion, due to open next month.
Auckland Transport Chief Executive Shane Ellison says the draft design is continuing to be discussed with impacted property owners and we are now seeking to consult with the wider community.
“We want to hear from East Auckland residents and businesses about how this project will support their changing transport needs given their diverse and growing community, home to an estimated 160,000 people by 2030,” Mr Ellison says.
“The Eastern Busway will be a vital part of Auckland’s future transport network and when completed will carry more than 30,000 passengers daily, giving 24,000 more people access to a high-quality bus station within 1km walking distance of home as well as excellent facilities for those on bikes or on foot.”
Consultation with property owners is already underway and from today we’re asking the community to provide their feedback on the proposed design too.
“We acknowledge the proposed changes will affect the Burswood residential community and we are committed to building a further understanding of these impacts through this consultation,” Mr Ellison says.
Dean Kimpton, Chair of the Eastern Busway Interim Project Alliance Board, says the project team has focused on delivering a robust consultation process in uncertain times.
“The decision to consult with property owners and the community has come after a great deal of consideration and discussion,” Mr Kimpton says.
“Several factors have been considered in the decision to consult now, including the ongoing presence of COVID-19 restrictions and the importance of giving certainty to communities about what is an eagerly awaited transport project which will be significant for the whole region.”
A key change to the draft design proposes a section of busway, walking and cycling facilities, bus station and landscaping to serve the Burswood and surrounding residential communities.
“A number of safety, operational and construction issues were found with the previous design, which saw the widening of Ti Rakau Drive and the busway continue along the middle of it,” Mr Kimpton says.
The updated draft design is being proposed because it significantly increases access to a rapid transport network and walking and cycling connections for surrounding residential communities.
It will also be a safer route for walking, cycling, bus and road users; improve bus journey efficiency and reliability and minimise disruption for the strategic freight route; be approximately 12-18 months quicker to build; and support this fast growing area of Auckland by opening up the area for future land use in line with policies on urban development.
Next steps after consultation closes
After this consultation period Auckland Transport will consider all feedback and the technical information available, to decide if changes are required to the proposed design. The project team are also eager to meet with the community face to face, as soon as current Covid restrictions allow. There will also be further opportunities to provide feedback as part of the detailed design and consenting stages that are planned for late 2022.
Some early enabling construction work is expected to start near Pakuranga in 2022 and the project is estimated to be completed in 2026, subject to consent approvals and the easing of current pandemic restrictions.
The Pakuranga to Panmure section of the busway has a confirmed budget of $867 million and additional funding has recently been assigned to prioritise the delivery of this significant project for Auckland.
To find out more and have your say, visit www.easternbusway.nz