You just have to look to the cranes on the skyline, the hi-vis vests, and yes, the plethora of road cones around Auckland to know that this city is on the move.
As frustrating as private and public construction activity can be for all those who use our roads, the bigger picture is one of unprecedented infrastructure delivery and economic growth. That has never been more important than now as the country's economy tries to climb out of the hole created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The construction industry has also never been more important for the tens of thousands of people who are directly, and indirectly, employed on sites spread right across the region. And while all that activity may seem a bit ad-hoc, it certainly isn't.
There is a transport plan for Tāmaki Makaurau (perhaps not surprisingly called the Regional Land Transport Plan) and the people and partners of organisations like Auckland Transport (AT), Waka Kotahi — New Zealand Transport Agency, City Rail Link and KiwiRail are working hard to deliver on it.
It's informed by what Auckland Council and Central Government tells us they can invest in transport over the next 10 years. But of real importance is that Auckland's transport plan takes account of the views of the many more people that are calling Auckland home.
Plans are meaningless unless we put them into action. And this action is what many of us are seeing and experiencing, every day, in Auckland.
Aucklanders have told us they want better public transport. $7.5 billion of rail and busway investment is either in construction or detailed design.
In addition to City Rail Link and big investment in rail across the region we will this year complete the Eastern Busway, between Panmure and Pakuranga, which will provide faster, more reliable, and connected transport options for communities that have been woefully under served for decades.
Once the next stages of the busway are completed in 2025, you'll be able to travel by bus and train between Botany and Britomart in 40 minutes, cutting more than one-third off current journey times.
Nearby the new Puhinui Station will become a major bus and train interchange similar to those at Ōtāhuhu, Panmure, and Manukau. It will also improve travel reliability and choices as well as connecting people to wider Auckland through the southern and eastern line train services.
At $68 million, partly funded by the Regional Fuel Tax, this is another massive investment for communities who have had very little travel choice in the past.
Karangahape Rd, one of the most iconic streets in the country, has undergone a major transformation and will be completed at the start of winter.
Further north, fantastic progress is being made on the Matakana Link Road, connecting Matakana and State Highway 1 north of Warkworth. This $62 million project will help ease congestion and enable housing supply in one of the most rapidly growing residential sub-regions in Auckland.
Another huge project, which doesn't have a high profile, is Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai (the Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive shared path) — a seven-kilometre-long path with stunning views, which will be used by thousands of people for both commuting and recreational riding or walking.
And anybody who has been into the city centre recently can't help but notice the transformation happening in the Downtown precinct. This is part of Auckland Council's vision to transform the waterfront into an attractive, people friendly environment. Once completed, later this year, it will provide a truly world-class experience for everyone to enjoy.
Clearly this is not an exhaustive list of everything under way — and indeed many of the smaller activities that AT undertakes in communities are just as important for them. In fact at any one time AT is managing around 40 large construction sites, with dozens of smaller projects in neighbourhoods around the region. But none of them should be seen in isolation — they are all part of a wider programme to deliver an effective, efficient, safe and sustainable transport system which Aucklanders have told us they desperately want — preferably as soon as possible.
We also can't forget that we need to look after our existing assets — the flow of our daily lives and the economy depends on them continuing to work. We are seeing in other parts of the country the emerging crisis with water assets. Last year's Harbour Bridge closure due to freak high winds is a stark reminder that our roads, bridges, tunnels and transport facilities need to be renewed and repaired.
I've had all of this construction and maintenance activity described to me as "building the plane whilst you are flying it"; in other words, we are trying to modernise our transport system at the same time we are all trying to go about our daily lives in it.
It can be frustrating, and it can seem chaotic. But with the global threat of climate change, with the need to increase housing supply, and the need to provide more transport options, means that doing nothing, or less than we currently are, is simply unpalatable.
For Auckland to deliver the lifestyles its varied communities want, and to be an attractor for others outside the region, or indeed the country, we simply have to get on and get it done.
And back to that transport plan … later this month our efforts at updating Auckland's transport plan will be released in draft. It's never been a more important time to think about the role of transport and its importance to our region. Look out for it and put some time aside to tell us what you think — it's important we get it right, not only for today and tomorrow but for our tamariki (children) and mokopuna (grandchildren).
Shane Ellison is chief executive of Auckland Transport.