Motorists are being warned to avoid a major Auckland central city area which will be disrupted for up to five years due to construction of the $4.4 billion City Rail Link.
Dale Burtenshaw, deputy project director for the Link Alliance which is building CRL, said work would be carried around Wellesley St West, Mayoral Dr and Albert St.
For the next year, the intersection of Wellesley St with Mayoral Dr and Albert St would be shut, he said.
But for the next five years, work would be carried out in the area and that would continue to disrupt traffic.
Wellesley St West won't open to through-traffic till 2021. Access to Mayoral Dr in this area will be shut until CRL is finished by 2024.
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"We recognise this is a busy part of town and while the intersection is closed to vehicles, we're focussed on keeping the area safely accessible and open for business," Burtenshaw said.
The work was necessary to build the new Aotea Station - the CBD's second major train station after Britomart. The new station will rise behind Bledisloe House, at the intersection of Wellesley St West and Albert St, although it will be accessed all the way through to Victoria St.
Burtenshaw said this major part of the project was an important milestone and indicated the alliance sought understanding so the project could be finished.
"The sooner we start and finish the first stages of our station work, the sooner we can re-open part of the intersection," he said.
Temporary footpaths will be provided at the Wellesley St intersection so people can get to shops, businesses and apartments, he said.
"People on bikes or scooters will need to walk their wheels on the temporary footpaths," he said.
Last weekend, Auckland Transport diverted 30 bus services affected by the Wellesley St West closure.
Despite motorists being blocked, the area will be busy with construction and workers, he said.
"We do ask everyone – whether travelling by foot, bike, scooter or car – to be careful and patient in and around the area for their own safety and for the safety of our workers.
"Disruption is unavoidable but longer-term it will bring positive change for Auckland. Our priority is to minimise the impact of work and to let people know of any changes to make journeys for everyone as easy as possible," Burtenshaw said.
Parts of Albert St have been closed to traffic for years and the Mt Eden Station is shut from June this year until December 2024.