15 Nov 2019

Auckland facing years of 'significant disruption' with CRL project

8:08 pm on 15 November 2019

Aucklanders face years of disruption due to a raft of closures announced today as part of the City Rail Link project.

Auckland City rail link construction - Britomart to Karangahape Road, K road as seen on 5 November 2019

City Rail Link construction at Britomart Photo: RNZ / Kymberlee Fernandes

Construction crews are preparing for the biggest phase of the project - linking Wyndham St in the central city to Mt Eden - and that includes shutting down the busy Mt Eden train station for four years, and lengthy closures on other major city streets.

But Auckland Mayor Phil Goff hopes Aucklanders will come to see ubiquitous orange road cone not as a symbol of inconvenience and delay, but as one of "the time of the greatest ever level of growth, investment and development" in the city's history.

"Is there going to be disruption? Yeah, there is - significant disruption. That's regrettable but unavoidable," he said.

"We're going to have the Wellesley St intersection closed for nine months, Victoria St intersection will be closed - not at the same time as Wellesley St - for over 12 months - and the Mt Eden train station will be closed for four years.

"That is going to have a disruptive effect and we're planning around that, but if you don't do those things then you don't transform this city in the way that it needs to be."

Artist impression of Karangahape Rd CRL station.

Artist impression of Karangahape Rd station. Photo: Supplied / CRL

Construction on the new Aotea, Karangahape Rd and Mt Eden stations will accelerate in the new year, with several long-term road closures planned around Wellesley, Victoria and Pitt streets and Beresford Square.

As well as the rail project, work ramps up on numerous other projects in 2020 including upgrades of Quay St, High St, Victoria St, Karangahape Rd and Wynyard Quarter.

Mr Goff said these should be ready for the America's Cup in 2021.

"Things are on track for the America's Cup, Prada Cup, then we've got the Women's Rugby World Cup, the Women's Cricket World Cup, the Men's Softball World Championships. We've got Te Matatini, and of course, we've got APEC.

"It's going to be a fantastic year for the city - this place is really going to be humming."

Mt Eden train station will be closed from June 2020 until December 2024 because of the City Rail Link.

CRL chief executive Sean Sweeney is confident disruption in the city-fringe suburb won't be on the same level as that seen on lower Albert St, where businesses have been hit hard by road closures stretching on far longer than they were meant to.

"Mt Eden will be the major site where the major staging works happen. The tunnel boring machine will be assembled and launched," Mr Sweeney said.

"There will be interruption along the way but rest assured we've spent a lot of time try to extract the lessons from what's gone wrong and what hasn't gone wrong on lower Albert St."

Roughly 250 people an hour get out at Mt Eden station during peak hours, and they'll have to travel to the Kingsland or Grafton train stations or take the bus.

A dedicated bus service will take people to Newmarket train station.

Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said she'd be keeping a close eye on the next phase of the project and its effect on businesses.

"We've got a lag of infrastructure, we do need to invest. The thing we'll be watching for is how these changes are managed, to ensure the impact is managed as well as possible."

A public information campaign about the public works programme will get underway next year.

Summary of major closures

  • Victoria St - partial closure to one lane in each direction, from Federal St to Elliott St: January 2020 to March 2020
  • Wellesley St - full closure of intersection with Albert St: March 2020 to December 2020
  • Mayoral Drive - 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
  • Mt Eden Station - full closure from (trains will continue to run but will not be stopping): June 2020 to December 2024
  • Victoria St - full closure of intersection with Albert Street: January 2021 to July 2022

Inside the City Rail Link construction site at Britomart in central Auckland, July 2019:

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