Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Key to give Auckland a crossing

Auckland is likely to get a new Waitemata harbour crossing as part of a transport plan revealed today by Prime Minister John Key.

A freight corridor in Onehunga could also be part of the package, which the Government has already said includes a $2.86 billion inner-city rail link.

Mr Key is expected to give approval for the harbour crossing as he lays out the National Party's plan for Auckland transport at an Auckland Chamber of Commerce meeting today. The project has been included in the Auckland Plan, but has not yet been backed by Government.

It is not known what the crossing will be, or when it will be started.

Two options have been floated - tunnels near the existing harbour bridge or another bridge.

Waitemata and Gulf councillor Mike Lee said that in 2009 the Transport Agency and Kiwirail proposed a 2029 start date for a road-rail tunnel.

North Shore National MP Maggie Barry said there was a "flurry of excitement" about the suggestion the North Shore could get another link to the city.

"It is essential and long overdue, and it would make a phenomenal difference to the North Shore."

A decision to approve the Waitemata crossing would be contentious because of the cost and effect on the amount of traffic in the city.

It would have a significant effect on Auckland's waterfront, because it could cut through the Wynyard Quarter or Westhaven Marina.

A road bridge would cost $3.9 billion and tunnels up to $5.3 billion.

Labour's Auckland issues spokesman, MP Phil Twyford, said that after citing concern about the cost of the rail link, the Government now appeared to be "spending money like there's no tomorrow".

He said traffic volumes on State Highway One did not justify a new crossing in the short or medium term.

Mr Key is also expected to make an announcement on the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative project, a $2.6 billion road, rail and bus way in south-east Auckland.

Read more:

Brian Rudman: All aboard city rail link again
SkyCity seeks rail access

- NZ Herald

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