Brian Rudman at the Herald has obtained a copy of the report that forms the City Centre Future Access Study. This is the report that central Government asked Auckland Council to produce to identify what other options there were to a rail tunnel.
The draft also warns that by as early as 2021 growing congestion would “limit Auckland’s potential growth” by increasing travel times for city centre workers and reducing efficiency for freight and commercial road users using the port, moving around the city centre, or passing through.
The growing congestion would also push employment out of the centre, reducing productivity and resulting in a less competitive economy.
By 2041, the report said, traffic jams would be keeping 15,200 employees and students out of the city centre and would reduce speeds for commuter, freight and commercial vehicles by 75 per cent.
Several city streets were carrying 80 to 100 buses an hour, resulting in “unstable flow and queuing”.
Ultimately, main bus routes could have be be two-laned in both directions.
The report concluded underground rail was the only option with any capacity after 2041.
The report weighs up the different options as:
- 78c return for every $1 spent on the rail tunnel project – higher than other options.
- A bus tunnel was not practical because too much land would have to be taken for it, it would reach its limits between 2025 and 2030 and it would cost up to $2.34 billion. It would have a return of 28c to 36c for every dollar spent on it.
- A surface bus solution was cheaper at $1.13 billion with a 34c to 50c return but had similar short-comings to the bus tunnel solution.
The ball is now in the Government’s court. It will be interesting to see the response of central Government and also the MP for Auckland Central, Nikki Kaye in the coming days.