Design Grant for North Shore BuswayTransport
November 19 2001Media Statement
Embargoed Until 1am, Nov 19 2001
Transfund New Zealand has approved further funding for the North Shore busway project, with a grant of $10.64 million for the design of a priority bus lane on the eastern side of the motorway.
Transport Minister Mark Gosche said the decision meant another significant step had been made towards making the North Shore busway project a reality.
“The funding will allow design work of the entire bus lane to be completed. That is great news for Aucklanders trying to cross the Harbour Bridge. Once completed the bus lane will allow more people to cross the bridge at peak times by giving buses a dedicated motorway lane.”
The bus lane will run between the Onewa Road Interchange just north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and Constellation Drive to the west of Mairangi Bay.
“The aim is to dramatically reduce bus travel times during rush hours. In addition to carrying buses, other high occupancy vehicles will be able to use the bus lane.”
Transfund has previously made a grant for preliminary design work on the project. The Minister last month turned the first sod on the Esmonde Road on-ramp for the bus lane.
The bus lane is one component of the proposed North Shore Busway project, This project would also include five bus stations with car park and passenger drop off facilities, and extended bus services on and between the North Shore and central Auckland.
The North Shore Busway project is expected to cost in total $176 million. North Shore City Council is applying to Infrastructure Auckland for $46 million towards the $56 million cost of the bus stations, while Transfund would be asked to provide $120 million for the bus lane. Construction work on the bus lane component could begin in 2003, with completion in 2005.
The proposed bus lane is expected to comprise a new, separated carriageway parallel to the northern motorway. North of Esmonde Road the bus way would be two-lane/two-way, while south of this junction there would be a single southbound lane planned.
“In its entirety the North Shore Busway project is expected to reduce peak hour traffic congestion and improve the overall effectiveness of the passenger transport system,” said Transfund Board Chairman Michael Gross.
“The Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy has identified the need to increase the capacity of the Auckland Harbour Bridge approaches and make additional capacity available to buses and other high occupancy vehicles. The bus lane will help achieve this.
“Transfund’s bus lane design funding enables all interested parties - North Shore City Council, Transit New Zealand, Auckland Regional Council, Auckland City Council and Infrastructure Auckland - to continue to work towards making the North Shore Busway a reality,” says Mr Gross.
Mr Gosche said that this latest funding announcement, coming on top of last month’s announcement of design funding for the $35 million Esmonde Road interchange, would help get North Shore traffic moving.
“Real progress is being made on Auckland roading issues. Construction is due to start on the Grafton Gully to Port link very soon, and work on State Highway 20 is moving ahead.
“As well as roading, public transport also has to be a big part of the mix if congestion is to be tackled. We are working to secure Auckland’s rail corridors and in the last year the government has given public transport funding a huge boost. The result has been a 7.6% increase in Auckland passenger numbers over the last year.”
For more information please contact Lyn Holland, Mark Gosche’s press secretary, (04) 4719 063, or (021) 270 9004, or Martin Gummer, Transfund Chief Executive (04) 495 3268, mobile (025) 744 or home (04) 384 1112.