Well the silly thing is that Quay Street is only a problem because it was shifted southwards in the 1990s, so the port could expand a bit. If you have a look at it on an aerial photograph you'll see that if Quay Street had stayed on its original alignment we'd have masses of room for 4 or 6 tracks into Britomart.
I just wish we had a bit of vision for public transport in Auckland. We should be trying to sell to the public a visionary scheme for 2030 - something like this I reckon: http://www.angelfire.com/tv/jarbury/aggins/auckland-rail-dream_copy.jpg
Not really, it's one heck of a squeeze between Quay Street and Vector Arena. You'd need to narrow Quay Street a bit I imagine, although eventually the line would be far enough underground to avoid too many problems.
I think. I haven't looked in TOO much detail into that, although it's certainly a necessity as in a few more years we won't be able to increase the number of trains going in and out of Britomart. ARTA were considering terminating Onehunga trains at Newmarket for this very reason.
Fortunately ARTA have come to their senses and the Onehunga trains will run all the way to Britomart.... for now.
Wow thanks for all the kind words everyone.
The one flaw in the "surface level Waterview Connection" versus "southwest rail corridor" argument is that you can't build that southwest rail corridor unless you build the CBD rail tunnel first. You just simply couldn't squeeze the necessary 6 trains per hour from the airport to Britomart without causing chaos.
However, if you spent $400 million on duplicating the eastern approach to Britomart you could buy yourself 10-15 years to build the CBD rail loop and do it properly.
$400 million on duplicating the Britomart tunnel plus the whole southwest rail corridor AND you'd still have a few hundred million in change from your $2.8 billion full tunnel option.
Find Mr McShane's house and build SH1 right through it I say.
Rich, we're stuffed either way without significant public transport investment. However, I would agree that we're MORE stuffed if the MUL gets removed and we sprawl like crazy.
The decision has been made to complete the Western Ring Route, however the decision about WHEN this happens is still open I would guess.
How about after we invest in a CBD rail loop and rail to the airport?
Anyway, I look forward to hearing Steven Joyce pluck something magic out of thin air on this. I just worry with the RMA changes that are happening he will go with a surface option but people won't have much opportunity under the weakened RMA to oppose it.
There may come a point when the Waterview Connection makes economic sense again. However, I cannot see that point being now or any time in the next 10 years.
There are other projects that need this money more, and are more justifiable. This is turning into a tunnel v surface option debate, when it should be a "can we justify spending at least $2.2 billion on a 4.5 km road" argument.
Gareth, electric cars will still be congested. Auckland's population will be 2.3 million by 2050 - that's a lot of electric cars stuck in traffic jams.
Sacha, there are two ways that one could answer that question.
Firstly, this is what Steven Joyce said in parliament yesterday:
Hon Darren Hughes: Minus financing costs, what is the cost of the twin two-lane tunnel option for the Waterview Connection that Labour proposed, and how does it compare with the same project—again, without finance costs—of August 2008?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The cost of $2.77 billion provided in the business case that was sought by the previous Government and provided to the incoming Government after the election included financing costs of $200 million. For the member’s benefit—I have some concern at his skill level—I tell him that without those financing costs the cost is $2.57 billion.
Hon Darren Hughes: Why will the Minister not just front up about the actual cost of the Waterview project without the extra things he has included in it, which no other project faces—like financing costs or the additional scoping of the project—and tell us that the cost of the project is not $2.77 billion, as he keeps claming publicly, but rather $1.98 billion if finance costs, which no other project faces, are not included?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: That is much better. I have been quite upfront about this matter, and the business case has been published. The $2.77 billion includes $240 million of costs for increasing capacity on State Highway 16, and financing costs of around $200 million, which are simply for during the period of construction. Under the business case sought by the previous Government, that funding was added because there was an understanding that the project would not be completed from within the National Land Transport Fund, and that therefore those funding costs would need to be provided during the project’s construction. I can tell the member, in order to alleviate his concerns, that any alternative options for advancement of the Waterview Connection will include comparisons on a like-with-like basis.
The other possibility is that Joyce wants a 6 lane link and realises that getting that built as a tunnel is impossible ($3.2 billion I think). So he wanted to make all tunnel options seem unfeasibly expensive. Now, in some ways I think that what he has done is justifiable - as financing will be required (as it will be funded from debt, not from the NLTP), SH16 will need to be upgraded and costs may have escalated.
Yet all these additional costs will have to be added to EACH AND EVERY OPTION considered. You will still get financing costs on the open cut option and you'll still need to upgrade SH16. So this may backfire on him and make every option unaffordable.
If the cost was $1.9 billion still I would say "let's think about it", but at $2.8 billion for a tunnel option (and $2.2 billion for a cheap and nasty open cut option) I say "forget about it".
Too expensive. Look for alternatives.
Sacha, in terms of a $3 billion project $200 million is only 7%. Nothing like the "halving the cost" rubbish that is spouted by McShane, Joyce etc. Furthermore, the "cut & partial cover" option is going to still have significant social and environmental effects - that could be more than $200 million. In which case our cost-benefit analysis heads even closer to the negative.