New Zealand's largest infrastructure job will shut the Mt Eden train station for four years, affecting more than 300,000-plus people annually.
Phil Goff, Auckland mayor, City Rail Link chief executive Sean Sweeney and Pete Moth, Auckland Transport's manager of network development spoke about the closure this morning at a briefing.
The Mt Eden station shuts next June till December 2024. Trains will continue running through it but they will not stop there due to the $4.4b City Rail Link construction.
The closures are necessary to extend the Mt Eden station to cover both the existing line and new City Rail Link.
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The news was part of a string of announcements made this morning.
"You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs," said Goff of the impact the disruptions might have on commuters. "There's no one who thinks we can have 2m [people] in Auckland by 2028 and not have the investment."
Moth announced that a dedicated bus service would be established to help commuters who usually got off at Mt Eden but that other passengers would have to get on and off trains at either Kingsland or Grafton instead of Mt Eden for those four years.
They could then use existing bus services, Moth indicated.
There were also a number of other closures announced this morning, but these all involve roads.
• Victoria St - partial closure to one lane in each direction, from Federal St to Elliot St: January 2020 to March 2020.
• Wellesley St - Full closure of intersection with Albert St: March 2020 to December 2020.
• Mayoral Dr - Vehicle access from Wellesley St: March 2020 to 2024
• Pitt St - Partial closure from Vincent St to Karangahape Rd: January 2020 to July 2021
• Beresford Square - Permanent closure from January 2020
• Mt Eden Rd - Partial closure from Water St to Enfield St: July 2020 to June 2021.
"While we regret the disruption this will cause, we will be providing information about alternative ways to get around the city," said a statement from Auckland Council.
"These are projects which will change the shape of Auckland and we encourage people to plan ahead, and find different ways to commute."
Goff said $6b was being spent on Auckland's central area in five years by local and central government but $10b was being spent over that time by the private sector.
Auckland Transport plans to introduce new bus priority lanes within the city centre and a new bus service between Mt Eden and Newmarket to ease the pressure.
Commuters in Auckland already face increased congestion due to the number of construction projects around the city.
The impact of the construction has also hit businesses, particularly around the $4.4 billion City Rail Link on Albert St.
Business owners affected by the construction have appealed to the Government for support during the period.
In July, Goff proposed a hardship fund for businesses struggling to survive along the route of the $4.4 billion City Rail Link.
Earlier this month, the Government agreed to the proposal for a hardship fund for the businesses affected by the CRL work.
At this stage, it is still unclear how many businesses are likely to be affected by the string of closures announced today - or whether they would be entitled to claim from the hardship.
But Dr Sean Sweeney, City Rail Link chief executive, predicted less effect on business with the C3 or tunnel contract from Mt Eden: "We're not anticipating the same level of disruption in Mt Eden because we are working within a complete site."