Bridge starts $200m road upgrade plan

By Mathew Dearnaley

Hurry-up from Auckland Transport gives boost to Panmure's long-awaited changes. File photo / Martin Sykes
Hurry-up from Auckland Transport gives boost to Panmure's long-awaited changes. File photo / Martin Sykes

Work on about $200 million worth of transport improvements around Panmure is about to start, beginning next month with the construction of a replacement road bridge over Auckland's eastern railway line.

Auckland Transport last week awarded an $8.85 million contract to Downer NZ to replace the Mountain Rd bridge among other construction and demolition activities around Panmure's railway station.

These will include creating a temporary park-and-ride area for railway passengers and demolishing buildings along the Ellerslie-Panmure Highway.

The work will start the Panmure phase of a long-awaited improvements project called the Auckland-Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (Ameti), which will extend to Glen Innes and Pakuranga and include new busways and roads.

These have been costed in the draft Auckland Plan at $1.5 billion, up from a previous estimate of $1.3 billion, between now and 2033.

After years of design work from the ashes of the ditched plan for a $4 billion Eastern Highway, which would have crossed Hobson Bay to central Auckland, the only visible results have been intersection improvements at the end of the Southeastern Highway.

But a stern hurry-up message from the Auckland Transport board in December has made planners determined to make a bigger splash, starting with the bridge replacement, which is needed to make room for the $1 billion rail electrification project.

The council-controlled organisation says it expects to award larger contracts by the end of the year, including for a new road between Mt Wellington Highway and Glen Innes, to take pressure off Panmure's difficult roundabout before it is replaced by a new intersection after 2014.

Mountain Rd will also be diverted away from the roundabout to feed into Jellicoe Rd, and there will be upgrades at the railway station to accommodate the new road, which will run beneath the station's western side and the Ellerslie-Panmure Highway.

The station improvements will include an interchange so passengers can transfer to trains from a busway to be built from Pakuranga, and Morrin Rd, north of Panmure, will be widened to four lanes between Fraser and Tainui Rds.

Construction is expected to start early next year on a new bridge over the railway line to give buses access to the interchange, and a replacement bridge just to the south of that, on the Ellerslie-Panmure Highway.

Rolling start

Starting next month:
Replacement road bridge over rail on Mountain Rd, Panmure.

Starting early next year:
Replacement road bridge over rail on Ellerslie-Panmure Highway.

* New bridge just to the north of the highway, giving buses access to planned transport interchange at Panmure railway station.

* New road from Mt Wellington Highway to Glen Innes running through a trench under Ellerslie-Panmure Highway and railway station environs.

* Diversion of Mountain Rd from Panmure roundabout to Jellicoe St.

- NZ Herald

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