Next step in Eastern Busway’s path confirmed

An artist’s impression of how the Eastern Busway on Ti Rakau Drive will look at night. Image supplied

The Eastern Busway public transport project continues to take shape with the design of another stage of its route confirmed.

Auckland Transport (AT) has finalised the busway section from Pakuranga to the Ti Rakau Drive bridge following community consultation held late last year.

The approval includes the Reeves Road flyover, which the agency says will enable “efficient and reliable Eastern Busway services, while also reducing the traffic at key intersections on Pakuranga Road and Ti Rakau Drive”.

The agency’s board has decided to defer its decision on the design of the controversial Ti Rakau Drive to Botany Town Centre busway section until late March to allow for more time to consider community feedback.

AT executive general manager integrated networks, Mark Lambert, says the feedback received on the proposed design showed keen support for the project’s next stage.

“We’re pleased to hear from east Auckland residents and business owners about how this project will expand their transport choices and enable their communities’ rapid growth and development.

“Every submission we received was considered by our specialist team of engineers, designers, planners, and architects involved in the design work.”

Lambert says the agency appreciates the time and effort people put in to giving feedback, “particularly as it was … at a time when Aucklanders were managing the challenges of the Covid-19 lockdown”.

“We acknowledge the proposed design would affect the Burswood residential community, which is why we’re taking extra time to carefully consider the feedback we received from Burswood residents.”

AT says the proposed design from Ti Rakau Drive bridge to Botany Town Centre will significantly increase access to a rapid transport network for surrounding residential communities.

It will be a safer route for walking, cycling, bus and road users, improve bus journey efficiency and reliability, minimise disruption for freight, be about 12-18 months faster to build, and support a fast-growing area of Auckland by “opening it up for future urban development”.

The agency says it received several feedback themes during the consultation phase including overall support for the busway and the transport options it will enable locally.

It also heard strong objections to the proposed new connection at Burswood and requests for alternative designs between Ti Rakau Drive bridge and Botany.

People had mixed views on the allocation of existing road space, concerns about potential loss of open space and reserve land, and worries about potential disruption during construction.

“AT will continue to engage with residents, business owners and stakeholders to understand views, concerns and opportunities raised by submitters during consultation and how these can be mitigated,” the agency says.

“There will be more opportunities to give feedback this year when the design is refined and during the consenting stage of the project.”

The agency says it wants more time to review all the feedback on the proposed design of the stage between Ti Rakau Drive bridge and Botany Town Centre.

It will meet at the end of March to decide the preferred design.