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Newmarket Level Crossing

In 2015, Auckland Transport will be closing the Newmarket level crossing connecting Sarawia Street and Laxon Terrace in Newmarket.


Project overview


Sarawia CrossingThe Newmarket level crossing is the busiest and most complex in New Zealand in terms of rail movements, and is a major contributor to rail service disruptions.

There are several benefits from closing the crossing, including improved safety by removing a level crossing. However, the main reason AT will close the crossing is to allow improvements to rail frequency to take advantage of the more efficient electric trains to be introduced over the next few years.

As the crossing provides the only vehicle access route into and out of Laxon Terrace, an alternative vehicle access will be provided.


Project details

The Newmarket level crossing is located 2 minutes northeast of Newmarket Centre, where Sarawia Street meets Laxon Terrace.

The removal of the existing level crossing is required to:

  • Improve safety at the busiest train crossing in the country;
  • Allow greater frequency of services;
  • Increase efficiency and effectiveness of rail operations;
  • Address long-standing community concerns.

AT has completed its analysis and made a decision on how Laxon Terrace will be accessed once the Sarawia Street level crossing (known as the Newmarket level crossing) is closed.

We have selected a road-over-rail bridge solution from Cowie Street to Laxon Terrace. The Cowie Street Bridge option was chosen due to it:

  • providing the safest access for all road users, compared to other options
  • accommodating all modes of transport, including pedestrians and cyclists
  • providing opportunities for improved connectivity to Newmarket Park and a planned cycling and walking route linking Parnell and Newmarket via the old Parnell rail tunnel
  • having the least disruption due to the main work site being located on railway land, away from the majority of residential properties.

The Cowie Street Bridge option will see no change to Newmarket Park or Furneaux Way. The impact on Sarawia Street will be limited to closure of the current level crossing, effectively making it a no-exit street.

In making its decision, we have endeavoured to balance the concerns of local residents and the wider community (including Newmarket Park users and rail patrons).

Development of the Cowie Street Bridge design is expected to start in March 2014, with project completion scheduled for the first half of 2015. We are committed to working closely with local residents throughout the design and construction processes.


Details of proposed options

Cowie Street Bridge

This option involves construction of a two lane road bridge from Cowie Street to Laxon Terrace. It is the most expensive option under consideration.

Concept features of Cowie Street bridge 

  • Two-lane road access into and out-of Laxon Terrace and Youngs Lane
  • Pedestrian and cycle access to Newmarket Park is maintained
  • Some land acquisition will be required
  • Cowie Street will experience a minor rise in traffic volume

Cowie Street Bridge image

Furneaux Way

This option is to create a new low-speed, low volume, access way through Furneaux Way.

It is also a less expensive and simpler engineering option.

Concept features of Furneaux Way option

  • Clear sightlines to be created and maintained and approach visibility a safety priority.
  • Landscaping and paving to be kept in local residential character, and of domestic scale.
  • Will also provide traffic calming, be safely lit and enhance local visual amenity.
  • A traffic safety report on the Furneaux Way option (PDF 1.48MB) was carried out.
  • All options allow sufficient width for emergency and large vehicles e.g.rubbish trucks.
  • Current pedestrian movements through to Furneaux Way are maintained.
  • Furneaux Way and James Cook Crescent will experience a minor rise in traffic volume (refer to Traffic Effects for more information).
  • AT would assume responsibility for maintaining Furneaux Way as a public road.

Furneaux Way through road images

Newmarket Park option

The option proposes deconstruction of a two-lane road and footpath through Newmarket Park connecting Laxon Terrace to Ayr Street. This is a less expensive option than the Cowie Street bridge, but is technically challenging due to ground instability issues.

Concept features of Newmarket Park option

  • Two-lane road access into and out-of Laxon Terrace and Youngs Lane.
  • Acquisition of Newmarketed Park land from Auckland Council will be required.
  • Ayr Street will experience a minor rise in traffic volume (refer to Traffic Effects for more information)
  • Will include traffic calming
  • Will result in loss of amenity for Newmarket Park users.

Newmarket Park images

Other crossing removal options

Other options explored included:

Vehicle underpass

An underpass from Sarawia Street was considered previously but dismissed due to construction and cost challenges compared to a bridge.

Over rail bridges

Options for bridges from either Sarawia Street or Cowie Street were previously explored by KiwiRail in 2011, with the Sarawia Street bridge option dismissed due to gradient issues.

Newmarket Park Roads

Options for a road through, and a road around the park have been explored by Auckland Transport. Both roads carry high construction risks due to ground stability and the option for a road skirting the edge of the park was not progressed further.

Traffic effects

Traffic counts were carried out at Cowie and Sarawia streets and James Cook Crescent. Analysis of the impact of redirected traffic from Laxon Terrace/Youngs Lane was undertaken, with the conclusion that the low volume of traffic leaving/entering is low and the effects on nearby streets minimal.

Pedestrian and cyclist access to Newmarket Park

Changes to the level crossing will also affect pedestrian and cycle access to Newmarket Park. The following options are under consideration

  • Furneaux Way Option: Complete closure of crossing (no access), retention of a pedestrian/cyclist-only crossing, construction of a pedestrian/cycle bridge from Cowie Street.

Update: following discussion with KiwiRail on operational benefits, retention of a pedestrian/cyclist-only crossing is no longer being considered

  • Cowie Street bridge option: No additional provision as pedestrians and cyclists will be able to use the road bridge to access the park.
  • Newmarket Park option: Complete closure of crossing (no access) retention of a pedestrian/cyclist-only crossing, construction of a pedestrian/cycle bridge from Cowie Street. 

Update: following discussion with KiwiRail on the operational benefits, retention of a pedestrian/cyclist-only crossing is no longer being considered.


Consultation

Auckland Transport began engagement with residents and community groups in November 2012, holding a public forum at the Parnell Community Centre in December 2012 and encouraging public feedback via a survey on proposed options.

The consultation period ended on 24 April 2013 and a total of 188 responses were received, showing a wide range of opinions on the four options proposed.

Recurring themes from the consultation feedback include:

  • the need to keep pedestrian and cycling access to Parnell, Newmarket and Newmarket Park
  • concern over the removal of the crossing and questioning the need for its removal
  • concern on the impact of a Newmarket Park road considering that the park has been recently redeveloped and improved
  • mixed response on the safety impact for Newmarket Park users should a road be introduced, with some commenting that increased public presence makes the park safer while others believe there will be an increase in loitering and anti-social behaviour in the park
  • concern over the effect of Laxon Terrace/Youngs Lane traffic being redirected into Furneaux Way and how this may interact with new developments in the Broadway Park area
  • concern that a Cowie Street bridge will affect Cowie Street property prices and be visually imposing
  • concern that the community consultation did not extend widely enough to include residents further afield and that not all residents received the AT letter and survey response form circulated to residents in early April
  • comments on the methodology used by AT to produce a benefit-cost analysis of the economic case for the various options AT has continued to engage with representatives of a number of community and resident interest groups since then, as well as the Waitemata Local Board, to discuss their concerns and ideas and update them on progress. Once the Board has selected an option to progress to the detailed design stage. AT will continue to engage with directly affected residents and representatives of other interested groups to ensure the best outcome possible for the community.

Background information

Scheme Assessment Report 

The following three files make up the Newmarket Level Crossing Scheme Assessment Report (September 2013), which is published for stakeholders requiring detailed information on the scheme. These are large PDF files and may take some time to download.  Please contact Aaron Hutching if you want a hard copy of the report. 

Note: The Scheme Assessment report has been redacted to protect the privacy of people, property and professional advice to Auckland Transport. 


Need more information?

For further information on this project please contact Aaron Hutching or

Contact Auckland Transport