Work is officially underway on a new $5.9 million ferry pier at Half Moon Bay which officials say will play an important part of the new public transport network for east Auckland.
The upgrade is due to be completed later this year and will improve access for passengers as well as safer truck movements associated with the vehicular ferry terminal, said Transport Minister Simon Bridges.
"As well as better shelter from the elements for ferry passengers, the upgraded facilities will also provide covered cycling storage and nearby bus stops to ensure the best all-weather facilities for all types of transport users."
A new Park and Ride facility at Lloyd Elsmore Park will also provide an extra 100 parking spaces and there will be a weekday shuttle bus to take people from their cars to the ferry terminal.
The multi-million dollar project is being funded by the Government through the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Howick Local Board through its Transport Capital Fund and the Auckland Council.
Mr Bridges, Auckland mayor Len Brown and Howick Local Board Chair David Collings marked the start of construction by turning the first sods at the end of Ara-Tai in Half Moon Bay this afternoon.
Mr Brown said residents had been waiting for the upgrade for more than a decade so it was great they could now make it happen.
Patronage on ferry services was up 6.1 per cent in the year to April compared to the previous year.
And during the last five years, patronage of the Half Moon Bay ferry has increased by more than 50 per cent to reach 372,141 total passengers in the year to April.
"This high quality, sheltered pier will encourage more people to save themselves the long drive to the central city."
Auckland Transport chair Lester Levy said the new ferry pier would become a key transfer hub for passengers using buses and ferries with better integration of services as the new public transport network for east Auckland rolls out towards the end of next year.
Auckland Transport said the new ferry pier would be similar in build quality to the Hobsonville Point ferry pier which opened in 2012. Construction will happen in the following phases:
• Piling work for the fixed wharf
• Pre-manufactured pontoon and gangway floated and secured into place
• Land based construction work on the bus stop and turn around area will mark the end of construction.
Features and benefits of the new ferry pier:
• Safer and accessible for everyone and designed to provide a greater level of shelter against the elements for passengers using the pier
• Design will reflect the history of the local area
• It will be located at the end of Ara-Tai, separated from leisure boat users
• A sheltered cycle storage facility which has been recently built near the dinghy lockers will be relocated to within the new pier area