RWC: $1.5b transport overhaul to smooth flow of fans

By Michael Dickison, Mathew Dearnaley

Photo / Steven McNicholl
Photo / Steven McNicholl

Rail, motorway and ferry upgrades costing more than $1.5 billion will be available to Rugby World Cup visitors, over and above $1.2 billion of direct spending on the tournament.

KiwiRail has almost completed a $600 million basic upgrade of Auckland's urban network, and has added new signals to the route between Britomart and Kingsland.

A $550 million upgrade of Wellington's rail network is nearing completion, with 16 to 20 of a fleet of 48 new electric trains likely to be running in time for the start of the event on September 9.

KiwiRail also expects its Interisland ferry Aratere back in service in August from a $40 million refit.

The Transport Agency meanwhile hopes to open a fourth southbound motorway lane between Gillies Ave and Green Lane on Monday as part of its $233 million replacement of the Newmarket Viaduct.

That was a major impetus for early completion last year of the $230 million duplication of the Manukau Harbour motorway crossing while the $220 million Hobsonville motorway sector of Auckland's western ring route is due for completion in September - six months ahead of schedule.

Much of the Auckland rail upgrade has involved duplicating the western line and streamlining Newmarket Junction, leaving only the Manukau branch line to be opened before Christmas.

New signals needed for a $1 billion electrification project have been laid between Britomart and Kingsland, and west of Morningside Station, to streamline rail movements to and from Eden Park for the cup.

The former Auckland Regional Transport Authority spent $6 million on expanding Kingsland Station and $1.3 million on upgrading Morningside Station to cater for rugby crowds descending on Eden Park.

Other cup-related transport spending in the region has included about $20 million for upgrading Sandringham Rd and neighbouring streets around Eden Park, and $2.5 million for roadworks in Quay St.

- NZ Herald

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