Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Homes in transport project’s path

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Te Irirangi Drive in Flat Bush is a key link in the future Botany to Auckland Airport rapid transit project. Times file photo Wayne Martin

People living in part of east Auckland have been told their homes are needed to make way for a major public transport project.

The Times understands residents have received letters from Auckland Transport (AT) stating their properties may be impacted by the preferred route of the Botany to Auckland Airport rapid transit project.

Follow-up emails have also been sent to some locals stating their whole property is required and may be confiscated under the Public Works Act.

However, an AT spokesperson says there’s currently no funding to progress the project to the detailed design and construction phase.

The spokesperson says 475 properties have received letters advising them the project’s “draft designation boundary” affects their property.

Only one local road, Te Irirangi Drive in Flat Bush, is among those impacted, with the rest located in south Auckland.

Botany MP and National Party leader Christopher Luxon says his electorate office was contacted by a constituent about the issue and in response said it would look into the concerns raised.

“The Botany rapid transit project is a key piece of infrastructure to serve the people of east Auckland and AT has determined this is the best route for the project,” Luxon says.

“We appreciate that for some affected residents this will cause considerable disruption and we hope AT is engaging and communicating with affected residents in an open and empathetic manner.”

The project starts at a new interchange in Botany that will connect to the Eastern Busway.

It travels south along Te Irirangi Drive to Great South Road and through Manukau, Puhinui Road and State Highway 20B to the airport.

“The project primarily involves the upgrade and widening of existing transport corridors to provide for a separated bus rapid transit corridor and high quality walking and cycling facilities,” the AT spokesperson says.

“Nine bus rapid transit stations are proposed as part of the project, noting there are 12 proposed overall, with a new Botany Station progressed via the Eastern Busway and two stations progressed within the airport’s precinct.”

The spokesperson says the stations are located in Smales Road, Accent Drive, Ormiston Road and six south Auckland sites.

“There is currently no funding to progress the project into the detailed design and construction phase.

“That means currently no properties are required to be purchased by either AT or Waka Kotahi [NZTA].

“The purchase of the properties tends to be approximately two-three years prior to construction, which is currently estimated in the next 10-15 years.

“Value of the homes is set at the time using fair market value as set out in the Public Works Act.”

The Te Irirangi Drive homes are not the first in recent years to be affected by a local public transport project.

The decision announced by AT earlier this year to have the Eastern Busway dissect Burswood will require the purchase of dozens of homes in that community, much to the dismay of residents strongly opposed to the plan.

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