PR: Closing the gap: fast-tracking the East-West Connection
From the get-go, this National-led Government has planned for the long game in Auckland.
The beginning of the Roads of National Significance (RoNS) project in 2009 was the first stake in the ground.
We built the Victoria Park Tunnel, upgraded the ageing Newmarket Viaduct, dug the Waterview Connection tunnels, and we have begun the process to make the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway plan a reality.
This week the Prime Minister announced the Government will work with Auckland Council to bring forward the start date of the City Rail Link.
The Government is also working to formalise its funding commitment from 2020, which the Council has indicated would allow construction of the main works to start in 2018, at least two years sooner than currently envisaged.
While this is great news, it was more good news for south, east and west Auckland from the Government’s other announcements - the fast-tracking of the consenting process for the East-West Connections, a vital link between the Southern and South Western motorways.
The benefits of this multi-modal transport project need no introduction.
Additional rail links, bus lanes, cycle routes, and reduced travel times will deliver long-lasting benefits for south Auckland and surrounds.
It’s only going to make the boat go faster.
Last year work began on the Southern Motorway upgrade, and it’s planned to wrap up in just over two years. The following year, the Western Ring Route is due to be complete.
Auckland is set to grow by 700,000 people in 30 years. That’s why as a Government, we’ve always been looking forward and planning investment in the region to support expected growth.
We can’t afford not to.
Auckland is already home to over a third of Kiwis, and it’s the commercial powerhouse of the country.
The East-West Connection is going to make life a lot easier when it comes to moving to, around and from this end of the city.
It’s a sensible and necessary project for Auckland, and I look forward to working with central and local government as it moves from a sound plan to a working reality.