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Auckland Transport

Downtown programme Downtown programme

Auckland Council has a vision to transform the waterfront into an attractive, people friendly environment. From 2018 to mid-2021, Auckland Transport will deliver the first phase of this 10-year vision.

Mai i te moana ki te whenua, mai i te whenua ki te moana

From the sea to land, from the land to the sea (the endless unbroken continuum)

Mīharo (extraordinary)
Manaakitanga (welcoming)
Auckland to Tāmaki (authentic and beautiful)


Project status: Construction - last updated 2 September 2020
Project zone: Central 


Project overview

The Downtown programme is creating a generous and welcoming destination along the water’s edge that is recognisably Tāmaki Makaurau. It will be a space that strengthens people’s connection with the Waitematā Harbour – a vibrant, transformed environment for all to enjoy.

Planning for Downtown Auckland has evolved over time. Its direction, focus, and design have been influenced through various stages of public consultation:

  • City Centre Master Plan and Waterfront Plan – 2011/2012.
  • Downtown Framework – 2014.
  • Future layout of Quay Street – 2014.

There are 6 key projects within the programme, which were originally targeting completion by December 2020, in time for the 36th America’s Cup. However the recent COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent restrictions, as well as technical challenges encountered by the Quay Street strengthening works (jet grout piling) have resulted in a revised programme timeline (see below).

The six projects will now be completed individually and opened for public usage through the final quarter of 2020 and the first half of 2021. Quay Street enhancements will be the final project completed in June 2021.

On completion, Auckland’s waterfront will look dramatically different.

Downtown project work map.

Projects to be completed by mid-2021:

  • Utilities investigation: mid-2018 to December 2018 - complete.
  • Utilities relocation: late 2018 to mid-2019 - complete.
  • Quay Street strengthening mid-2019 to December 2020.
  • Quay Street enhancement: mid-2019 to June 2021.
  • Ferry Basin redevelopment – stage 1: mid-2019 to April 2021.
  • Galway Street enhancement: Late 2019 – November 2020.
  • Lower Albert Street bus interchange: late 2019 – December 2020.
  • Te Wānanga (the downtown public space): early 2020 – February 2021.

Project details

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Quay Street roadworks and disruption updates

Over the next 2 years, activities and movement along and around Quay Street and the Ferry Basin will be affected by Downtown Programme.

Quay Street Strengthening CM

Quay Street strengthening

To protect Quay Street and the utility services that run beneath it, the historical underground seawall is being seismically strengthened.

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Quay Street enhancement

Quay Street will become a revitalised waterfront place, with wider footpaths, easier navigation, new street furniture, more trees, and greater opportunity for business and events.

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Downtown bus interchange

A bus interchange will be created at Lower Albert Street. A second interchange is being investigated for southern and eastern services.

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Downtown ferry basin redevelopment

Creating six new berths on the west side of Queens Wharf is the first step towards a modern, ferry terminal. The new berths enable Pier 3 to be decommissioned. Further development will occur post 2021.

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Te Wananga (the new downtown public space)

An exciting waterfront public space will be created in the ferry basin between Princes Wharf and Queens Wharf. Following the 36th America’s Cup, the public space will be extended further towards Queen’s Wharf.

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Mooring dolphin - cruise ship mooring infrastructure

The Auckland Council Group has stopped work on the Queen’s Wharf Mooring dolphin project due to the negative impacts of Covid-19 on the cruise industry and the council’s finances. There will be no further work on the project as part of the Downtown Programme.


Public engagement

In November and December 2018 we asked the community for feedback on the Downtown programme with a specific focus on the impacts of construction and how these might best be mitigated.

The engagement also aimed to build understanding and awareness of the wider Downtown programme across all seven projects.

We have analysed the feedback in the report below and used it to refine our construction programme and inform how we would work with the community through the duration of the works.

Read the Transforming Downtown public feedback report (PDF 1.4MB, 35 pages).


For more information on this project

Contact Auckland Transport