East – West link needed irrespective of Government

Auckland needs the proposed East – West link between Onehunga and Sylvia Park irrespective of the final make-up of the new Government.

“It will benefit all road users and free up the increasingly clogged roads of Sylvia Park, Penrose, Te Papapa and Onehunga,” said David Aitken, the CEO of National Road Carriers Assn.

“We don’t want to see the link and other major infrastructure projects fall victim to politics.”

Hearings by the Environmental Protection Agency into the proposed motorway to be built along the northern shore of the Manukau Harbour finished recently and a decision on its future is expected in mid-November.

Around 6000 trucks use the area between Mt Wellington/Sylvia Park and Onehunga daily on Church and Nielsen streets. This is more daily trips than on any state highway throughout the country.

The East – West link is designed to provide improved access to the Metroport Southdown Railfreight Terminal where road freight transport is a key element connecting rail freight journeys to the customer.

The area is the heart of a combined rail and road freight logistics sector and home to some of New Zealand’s biggest road freight distribution operators, which was designated for industry and commercial use over 50 years ago.

“The East – West link will get heavy traffic off local roads and urban streets,” said Mr Aitken. “And provide safe and efficient access into the commercial and industrial area from State Highway One and State Highway 20.”

Now trips to either the southern or south-western motorways are taking two to three times longer than they should because of traffic congestion in the area and the stop-start nature of the traffic.

“The East – West link will remove the many current traffic conflicts on the area’s urban streets,” said Mr Aitken.

Road freight transport in the area is expected to double between now and 2035, growing at an average rate of six percent a year due to Auckland’s continued growth, irrespective of who the Government is, he said.

“Road infrastructure improvements have not kept pace with the business and industrial growth in the area,” said Mr Aitken. “No matter who is in Government, we don’t want to see the East – West link and other major projects fall victim to politics.”