More than 120 homes have been bought as part of a $177 million busway project in public transport-poor East Auckland.
The proposal is still in its early stages, but if all goes to plan Auckland's first urban busway will connect Pakuranga to Panmure by 2025. The plan includes a shared cycle and footpaths separate to traffic.
A Notice of Requirement application was lodged by Auckland Transport with Auckland Council yesterday to designate the road for the proposed project. Based on current funding and if the designation is approved construction on the $177 million project is likely to start in 2021.
Howick local board chair David Collings welcomed the proposal because East Auckland - which is home to about 10 per cent of the city's population - is "poorly serviced by both roading and public transport".
"We've been suburbia sat out here developing away with really poor links to the city," he told the Herald.
"We'll take anything, any improvements at all."
Mr Collings said the local board had not received any calls from displeased residents about the proposal - instead people are very excited as it will "finally" give the area efficient public transport.
He called the current situation "a nightmare".
"We've been getting quite frustrated with how long it's been taking so the quicker it can be done, the better ... let's get the place moving."
So far, 121 properties have been bought and Auckland Transport said it needs to acquire five more.
The agency said the busway would provide better transport choices, get more people using public transport because bus journeys will be quicker and more reliable with services between Panmure and Pakuranga every five to 10 minutes and safer access to Pakuranga Rd for local residents.
The work will also turn Tamaki Bay Drive into a cul de sac at the Pakuranga Rd end and will prioritise movement of vehicles along Lagoon Drive and Ellerslie Panmure Highway.
Eventually, the busway will be extended to Botany as part of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative.
Its programme director Peter King said the busway is expected to account for about 35 per cent of all journeys across Panmure Bridge in 2026, about 22,000 bus passengers a day.
"Safety improvements for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are also an important part of the project. For example, Panmure roundabout is currently a safety blackspot."
Between 2009 and 2014, there were 60 crashes at the roundabout and the main cause was vehicles failing to give way.
A spokesman for Auckland Transport said the intersection is considered a "hostile environment" for pedestrians and cyclists with a lack of direct crossings or cycle lanes which is an issue due to its close proximity to the busy Panmure Station.
Mr King said an upgrade to a signalised intersection will reduce vehicle crashes, provide more direct crossings for pedestrians and improve cycle safety, Mr King said.