Auckland Mayor Len Brown marked the start of construction of the Auckland Transport project on the site near Panmure Station this morning with main contractor Fletcher Construction, Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency.
This launches one of Auckland’s biggest transport projects: the long awaited $1.5 billion Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).
The $180 million first phase is part of a longer-term plan to deal with traffic congestion and poor transport options in Auckland’s south east. A new road cutting ten minutes off the journey time between Glen Innes and Mt Wellington will open in 2014 as part of the first phase.
The AMETI area, which includes Panmure, Mt Wellington, Pakuranga, Howick and Botany, has some of the highest traffic flows, highest proportions of freight traffic and greatest levels of congestion anywhere in the country.
The two bridges linking the areas across the Tamaki River carry more than 120,000 vehicles a day (more than State Highway One through Victoria Park) and more freight traffic than any other corridor in the country.
Future AMETI projects include an urban Busway from Panmure Station to Pakuranga and Botany, a second Panmure Bridge for the Busway, replacing Panmure roundabout with an intersection and a flyover on Reeves Rd to reduce congestion through Pakuranga.
The first phase of the project is expected to employ up to 300 people at its peak and have economic spin offs, with much of Fletcher’s $100m construction contract spent with local industries.
An aerial picture of the first stage of the AMETI Panmure construction zone involving Mountain Road bridge, the railway and station, and streets surrounding the Panmure Roundabout.
“AMETI is the next big transport initiative we are launching to stop the gridlock and unleash the potential of all of Auckland,” says Len Brown.
“When completed it will halve the travel time for bus commuters between Botany and downtown. People in this part of town have been waiting for this for a long time.
“Aucklanders know how important initiatives like AMETI and the City Rail Link are. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be seeking feedback on the most appropriate way to fund them long term.”
Continuing until 2014, AMETI is Auckland Transport’s largest construction project and includes:
- A new bridge built on Ellerslie Panmure Highway for a future busway and the existing bridge replaced. The process for managing traffic while the bridges are built will follow the successful model followed at Newmarket Viaduct, with traffic moved to new bridges as they are built. The bridges will be higher and longer to allow for rail electrification, a new road and a possible future third rail line to pass underneath.
- A 1.5km new road linking Morrin Rd to Mt Wellington Highway and a 220m tunnel for the new road built next to the rail line at Panmure Station. This will be created by building a box with a new road on top for buses and taxis to stop at the station.
- A major upgrade of Panmure Station to create an interchange that allows easy transfers between trains and buses
- Replacing the Mountain Rd bridge and realigning the road, currently being carried out by Downer.
Completing this phase of construction will reduce traffic so work can begin on a new intersection to replace Panmure roundabout and an urban Busway from Panmure Station to Pakuranga and Botany. The AMETI Busway is expected to have 5.5 million passengers a year, compared to the current 2.2 million using the Northern Busway.
Auckland Transport Major Projects Manager Rick Walden says the construction shows major improvements to transport problems are on their way for eastern suburbs residents and businesses.
“For example, the new road will take 20,000 vehicles, including 2400 trucks, off the route through Jellicoe Rd, Panmure roundabout and Ellerslie Panmure Highway. It means travelling in peak between Mt Wellington Highway and Glen Innes will be 10 minutes quicker, a much better connection for freight and business traffic.
“People can expect to see major construction work focused in the Panmure Station area during the next two years.”
“This is a really important project for Fletcher and we are delighted to continue delivering major transport improvements for Aucklanders” says Fletcher Building Construction Group Chief Executive, Graham Darlow.
NZTA's Regional Director, Stephen Town, says the commencement of major works in the eastern suburbs of Auckland is long overdue and the Agency is delighted to be co-investing in this critical transport corridor.
The Auckland Council and the NZ Transport Agency are the major funders of AMETI.
About the AMETI transport projects
The Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) is a group of transport projects for the southeast (Panmure, Mt Wellington, Pakuranga, Howick and Botany). The aim is to give people living in the area transport choices by improving public transport, walking and cycling facilities and reducing traffic congestion. Other major aims are to unlock the economic potential of the area, improve transport for freight and business traffic and to promote good urban design.
The AMETI area has some of the highest traffic flows, highest proportions of freight traffic and greatest levels of congestion, anywhere in the country. At the same time it has some of the worst conditions for walking and cycling and bus services caught in the congestion with resulting long and unreliable travel times, resulting in some of the lowest proportions of public transport, walking and cycling use in Auckland.
The two bridges across the Tamaki River carry more than 120,000 vehicles a day, more than State Highway One through Victoria Park. They also have more freight traffic than any other corridor in the country.
For more details of the AMETI Panmure projects, see Overview of Panmure Projects.