Should the Tank Farm be used for a harbour tunnel or the proposed apartments/park development? Send us your views
A tunnel between Mechanics Bay and Bayswater could be one of the routes considered in a new study on a second harbour crossing for Auckland.
Transit New Zealand and the Auckland Regional Council have set a deadline of March next year for the project.
Transit's Auckland area manager Peter Spies said the Mechanic's Bay plan was one of many likely to be looked at.
"It's not one that people have been talking of at the moment but obviously if we are looking at a number of crossing options, that's one that may gain prominence," Mr Spies said.
However, he said North Shore City Council would be unlikely to agree to a tunnel in that location and its views would be taken into account.
The council's mayor, George Wood, said a 1998 proposal to build a tunnel between Mechanic's Bay and Bayswater had drawn sharp criticism from Bayswater residents and he hoped it was not back on the cards.
He said he was surprised at news of the new study, which had come "at the eleventh hour".
Mr Wood said he understood Transit was ready to announce a designation for the tunnel project between Northcote and the Tank Farm but the new plans for the Tank Farm had changed that.
"They've drawn back but I hope there won't be an unnecessary delay. Obviously they want to get it right but Transit had told me they had decided," Mr Wood said.
An entry point for the proposed Northcote tunnel had yet to be agreed, but Mr Wood said it was likely to be at the old toll plaza - near the Stafford Street off-ramp.
He said the North Shore council supported a tunnel from Northcote to the Tank Farm because the Bayswater to Mechanic's Bay area had the disadvantage of going through a much deeper area. Therefore, the gradient when coming out on the south side would be far greater and the roadway would have to be much steeper.
Transit's Peter Spies said the new crossing was likely to carry a large component of public transport and would link in with the Busway project.
"For example you may be looking at an underground bus slash underground rail station for the Wynyard Quarter - will that make it work a lot better? That's the type of discussion you will hear people talking about," Mr Spies said.
He said that could compliment Britomart with possible developments of the northern busway into heavy or light rail.
Mr Spies said Transit was ready to make a designation prior to the joint study but with changes planned for Tank Farm, it was important to work in collaboration with the regional and city councils.
"We'll do it once and we'll do it right," Mr Spies said.
Mr Wood said he didn't want to be a "killjoy" when it came to the Tank Farm plans but that it would be sad to see the second crossing stopped by apartments there.
Mr Wood said he first heard of the plans surrounding the Tank Farm at a public meeting held shortly after the announcement.
"Mike Lee and the Mayor [Dick Hubbard] weren't there. There were a few councillors but they didn't even have the decency to ring me," Mr Wood said.
When asked if he would have liked to know about the Tank Farm plans a little sooner, Mr Wood said: "It's a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing".