New dates have been set for the closure of the Mt Eden Station and the adjoining Porters Avenue railway crossing for City Rail Link (CRL) construction.
Porters Avenue will close permanently to vehicle traffic on Friday, 29 May, and the station will close on Saturday, 11 July, until CRL is completed in 2024.
The closures were delayed by the recent COVID-19 lockdown, which stopped work on all construction sites in New Zealand.
“We’re up and running again and able to get on with extensive redevelopment work around the Mt Eden station area,” says Dale Burtenshaw, Deputy Project Director for Link Alliance building the stations and tunnels for City Rail Link Ltd.
“Action taken to increase work hours will help maintain construction momentum and ensure the lockdown does not impact on our overall timetable.”
Extensive works are planned around the station area by Link Alliance and KiwiRail. The programme includes shifting underground utilities, re-developing Mt Eden Station, laying 4 tracks instead of the present 2, excavating a trench for 2 of those tracks to connect with the CRL tunnels, and building traffic and pedestrian bridges in the area.
Mr Burtenshaw says the decision to close Mt Eden Station for 4 years was not made lightly
“Our priority is safety and if the station remains open there is a risk to workers and the public walking through what will be a live and complex construction site. Building a temporary station was also investigated but there is not enough room in our construction zone.”
Rail services on the Western Line will continue after the closure. Trains in both directions will run on a single line through the station area. Auckland Transport (AT) says single line running will have little impact on rail timetables and a free bus service will be introduced for people who use the station.
Mr Burtenshaw acknowledges that closing Porters Avenue to vehicles permanently will be inconvenient.
“The extra lines and all the other changes mean it will not be possible to maintain a safe rail crossing for vehicles between Porters Avenue and Wynyard Road, even when we’ve finished construction.”
Access across the level crossing for people on foot, or with a bike, mobility aid, scooter or pram will be maintained until the footbridge is built.
“We will make the level crossing as safe as possible but ask that people take care on the uneven surface,” Mr Burtenshaw says.
Access to businesses on Porters Avenue and nearby Fenton and Haultain Streets will remain open. Suggested new routes include New North Road or View and Wynyard Roads.
To help maintain public transport connections, AT will operate a free bus service between Kingsland and Newmarket past Mt Eden Station. The new 64 route begins on Sunday, 5 July.
“The new 64 route fills in the missing connection between Mt Eden and Newmarket, while providing new connections for those in the surrounding suburbs,” says AT’s Executive General Manager of Integrated Services, Mark Lambert. ”We’re making the 64 service free, recognising the inconvenience of the station closure to residents and commuters in the area.”
Buses will run every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm every day. The service will be less frequent outside those hours, matching rail timetables. Mr Lambert says Western Line rail services will continue to operate normally but will not stop at Mt Eden.
The City Rail Link is a significant project contributing to Auckland’s future growth. When completed in 2024 it will give Aucklanders access to more trains and faster journeys in and out of central Auckland.