The Herald reported yesterday:
Work is finally starting on a $9 million railhead aimed at taking more shipping containers off Auckland’s congested roads.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce jumped on a digging machine yesterday to turn the first sod in a joint project between KiwiRail and Ports of Auckland, beside the main trunk railway at Wiri.
The Government is contributing $6 million to the project, an addition to an “inland port” which the port company has spent more than $20 million developing off Wiri Station Rd.
Although the company bought a 10ha site several years ago for stockpiling containers carried 25km to or from its waterfront terminal by trucks, it has taken concerted lobbying to gain Government funding for a road-rail interchange using 5ha of KiwiRail’s land.
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark announced funding approval in November, just two days before her Administration’s election defeat.
But it has taken until now to gain resource consents and to let a contract due to be completed by November for construction of a 450m-long hardstand and three rail sidings, each capable of receiving 22 wagons.
Once a night-rail shuttle service gathers a full head of steam, the new venture is expected to eliminate up to 100,000 truck trips annually from Auckland roads.
This project has been on the books for years – great to see it has finally started.