Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Sod turned on final stage of Eastern Busway

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Among the people at the sod turning for the final stage of the Eastern Busway were Transport Minister Michael Wood, fifth from left, and Auckland mayor Wayne Brown, seventh from left. Photo supplied

Work on the final stage of east Auckland’s largest public transport project is now under way and it will take about four years to complete.

The Eastern Busway is being delivered by the Eastern Busway Alliance in partnership with mana whenua, Auckland Transport (AT), Auckland Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

It’s expected to carry more than 30,000 people daily between east Auckland and the rail network in Panmure once fully operational.

On April 1, a group of officials and elected representatives including Transport and Auckland Minister Michael Wood, Auckland mayor Wayne Brown, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown, and Howick ward councillors Sharon Stewart and Maurice Williamson helped to turn the first sod for stages two-four of the busway in Pakuranga.

The final stage connects Pakuranga Plaza with Botany Town Centre and includes new paths for walking and cycling, urban renewal initiatives and general traffic improvements.

It’s jointly funded by the Crown, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Council.

The availability of funding for the full project is yet to be confirmed and options are being explored to enable completion.

Funding has been confirmed for stages two and three of the busway, running between Pakuranga and Burswsood, and with an on-road connection from Burswood along Ti Rakau Drive to Botany.

This part includes the Reeves Road Flyover in Pakuranga.

Marking the start of construction of the final stage of the Eastern Busway were, from left, Howick ward councillors Sharon Stewart and Maurice Williamson, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown, mayor Wayne Brown, and councillor John Watson. Photo supplied

AT interim chief executive Mark Lambert says the project will deliver great benefits for the community.

“One example of this is people will be able travel between Botany and Britomart by bus and train in less than about 40 minutes, which is 20 minutes faster than the current journey times.

“As part of our commitment to sustainability, this project will encourage the use of walking, cycling and public transport.

“The buses that use this infrastructure will be electric, creating a transport future for Auckland that is cleaner, quieter and more comfortable for all.”

The project’s Pakuranga to Botany stage includes a controversial decision for it to cut through the residential suburb of Burswood, which requires the purchase of dozens of homes in that community.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says it’s good to see construction on the busway’s next stage and the Flyover is finally under way.

“The Flyover has been talked about for decades and it’s great to see it’s finally seeing progress.

“It appears funding for the remaining stage of the busway towards Botany and the Botany bus station has not been confirmed by the Government, meaning further uncertainty for the project.

“Despite Aucklanders being fleeced with the regional fuel tax on the promise this would be used to complete the Eastern Busway, we’re being forced to pay more to get less by a Government which is good at announcements but poor at delivery.”

Dean Kimpton, AT’s incoming chief executive, says the project is generating hundreds of jobs in the short-term and providing work for thousands of people and dozens of businesses in the supply and construction sector.

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