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Auckland Transport

Newmarket level crossing

Auckland Transport (AT) will close the railway level crossing connecting Sarawia Street and Laxon Terrace in Newmarket. A bridge will replace the crossing, linking Laxon Terrace with nearby Cowie Street.

Project status: Design
Project zone: Central

Project overview

The removal of the existing level crossing connecting Sarawia Street and Laxon Terrace 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.
  • Create a quieter local environment by removing the need for crossing bells.


$6.2m (estimated).


  • 2012 - Public consultation began.
  • 2013 - Analysis of crossing options and selection of preferred option (Cowie Street bridge).
  • 2014 - Feedback from residents and key stakeholders incorporated into bridge design.
  • 2015 - Concept design of preferred option complete. Notice of Requirement and resource consent applications lodged with Auckland Council (October). Public notification of consents (November).
  • 2016 - Hearing and formal consent decision (June). Environment Court appeal and mediation with appellants.
  • 2017 – Resolution of Environment Court appeal (March). Detailed design. (May - July). Construction tender (August). Construction starts (October).
  • 2018 - Completion of bridge and road works (March/April). Closure of crossing, removal of crossing infrastructure and relocation of train signals by KiwiRail (April/May). Cowie St road and footpath renewals work (late 2018).

Project details

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

Closing the level crossing will enable AT to increase the frequency of train services to Parnell Station, and to increase the efficiency and resilience of Metro rail services on the wider network.

In 2013, AT undertook analysis and made a decision on how Laxon Terrace will be accessed once the level crossing on Sarawia Street (known as Newmarket level crossing) is closed. A road-over-rail bridge linking Cowie Street with Laxon Terrace was chosen as the solution.

The Cowie Street bridge option was chosen because it:

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

Sarawia Street will become a no-exit street once the bridge is built and the level crossing is closed.

Image: Crossing design concept.

Newmarket crossing concept drawing

See a plan of the current design (PDF 132KB).

Features of Cowie Street bridge

  • Two-lane road access into and out of Laxon Terrace.
  • Narrow road width, textured road surfaces, and chicanes (at end of Cowie Street and along the new road) support a low-speed environment.
  • Directed LED lighting along the new bridge and road to ensure minimal light-spill outside the road corridor.
  • Tree pits and vegetated swale provide an environmentally-friendly treatment for stormwater run-off.

Access to Newmarket Park

The crossing design minimises the impact on Newmarket Park and maintains pedestrian and cycle access.

  • The path down to the park will remain with an adjusted alignment.
  • The existing rest area at top of path to Newmarket Park will be recreated, along with seating.
  • The Pou will be relocated in consultation with artist, Renata Blair.

Iwi art integration

AT is partnered with iwi and has consulted with Mana whenua throughout the project.

Two artists are preparing concept designs for:

  • Handrail around observation platform.
  • Footpath concrete patterning.
  • Patterning on concrete bridge abutments beneath bridge.


Following discussions with Mana whenua and AT stormwater specialists, the raingarden in the original design will be replaced with 2 tree pits and filters placed within new chicanes in the road corridor. This will give the same level of water treatment without requiring the area in Newmarket Park.

Tree pits and swale will also reduce sewer overflows at Cowie Street and allow more vegetation & trees to be retained compared to the raingarden option.

Where possible, stormwater will be removed from the combined sewer network.

The KiwiRail access path is expected to be utilised for swale maintenance.

Mitigation of impacts on Cowie Street

Following discussions with the Cowie St Residents Association, AT will :

  • Ensure as many existing trees as possible are retained, especially the large poplar at the end of Cowie St. A timber boardwalk will help protect the root network.
  • Retain the existing ambience of the street with tree-planting and lighting adjustments.
  • Bring forward planned road and footpath renewals work, including reducing the existing cross-fall on the road.

Public engagement

AT 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 what would replace the crossing.

Following a decision in November 2014 by the AT Board to proceed with a bridge linking Cowie Street and Laxon Terrace, local residents were surveyed on 3 bridge options to help determine which design AT would progress. The final bridge design was presented to the public at a community meeting on 29 April 2015.

View the Community Liaison Group April meeting presentation (PDF 2.87MB).

Consent process

AT lodged the Notice of Requirement (NoR) and associated resource consent applications for the Cowie Street bridge with Auckland Council in October 2015. Submissions in support or opposition closed on 18 November 2015 and submitters were invited to have their say at a hearing held in front of independent commissioners.

AT received the formal approval of the resource consent application to construct the bridge from independent planning commissioners on 17 June 2016 and the AT Board accepted it in August 2016, however, the recommendation was appealed to the Environment Court.

In May 2017, the Environment Court appeal was resolved, and detailed design began.

Following the Environment Court mediation, AT reached an agreement with the Cowie Street Residents Association (CSRA) over the Cowie Street bridge and connecting road.

We held a community liaison meeting on 29 May 2017 to brief affected residents on the detailed plans for building the bridge, managing the new road, establishing cycle and walking facilities, planting, lighting, and environmental protection.

View the community meeting presentation (PDF 660KB).

Pre-construction communication plan

To guide how AT will communicate with, and manage feedback from, key stakeholders on the project throughout the detailed design phase, we have prepared a draft pre-construction communication and consultation plan.

Read the draft pre-construction communication and consultation plan (PDF 392KB)

Feedback on the contents of the plan was open from 29 May until 19 June 2017. We will publish the final version after all feedback is reviewed.

Next steps

Draft detailed design of the road and bridge structure is completed and a road-safety audit and peer review is underway.

Further feedback on remaining aspects of the design will be sought from the Waitematā Local Board and residents/property owners.


Construction work is scheduled to commence in October 2017 and be completed in March/April 2018.

Post-construction works to rehabilitate and further beautify Cowie Street are scheduled to be carried out later in 2018.

We will hold regular meetings with community throughout the construction phase.

Background information

Original options considered

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

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.

Reports and consultation documents

For more information on this project

Contact Auckland Transport