Published 27 July 2007
Auckland City Council approved the Ameti project last night – the replacement for the previous council’s eastern transport corridor, minus the section from St Johns through Hobson Bay – 2 days after the Manukau City Council gave its approval to the scheme.
After eastern corridor champion John Banks lost the mayoralty in 2004 and 2 Action Hobson councillors, Richard Simpson & Christine Caughey, took Hobson ward seats, the multi-billion-dollar corridor scheme & its motorway were replaced by the Auckland Manukau eastern transport initiative.
The replacement included many of the features of the former scheme within Auckland City’s far eastern suburbs (the Tamaki area), although they were revised.
Cllr Caughey failed in a move to include a 4-part amendment that would have taken out the opportunity for a major road through the Hobson part of the corridor, losing the vote on that by 10-7 and bringing on the open rancour of Citizens & Ratepayers councillors for her effort.
She had failed in a similar move at the transport & urban linkages committee’s meeting last Friday.
The Action Hobson councillors said that while the opportunity for the motorway remained, uncertainty would affect areas the corridor passed through, particularly the Orakei headland. Cllr Caughey wanted council staff to report back on this aspect to the transport committee’s September meeting, but retiring deputy mayor Bruce Hucker said there would no chance of getting action on it before the October local body elections.
Tamaki councillor Bill Christian said Ameti had nothing to do with any road north of the Merton Rd-St Johns Rd intersection, while Cllr Simpson commented: “Council has unwittingly signed a Faustian pact by keeping that designation there. We should be using it for far more effective purposes.”
Cllr Linda Leighton (CitRat) said it was important for the council to think about the future, “and for that reason we shouldn’t remove any designation”.
Cllr Scott Milne (CitRat leader) said: “When you have a one-issue party with the support base dissolved, you have the pumping of the phoenix which will not rise. There is no motorway designation across Hobson Bay. There is actually no motorway designation in the eastern corridor. There is a road designation in the eastern corridor and what you are talking about is removing that road.”
Into the future, he said, it might be used for more rail – “It might be a hover track, it might be levitation, who knows in 20 years’ time. It is certainly dangerous to remove a transport designation when we don’t know the future.”
Cllr Milne said councillors expressed concern at a pre-meeting briefing about where traffic at the northern end of Ameti would go, and staff were to report back on that. “It is dangerous, also, to think that rail provides the single solution for our transport woes. It was clearly pointed out that for the next interim period, say 10-15 years, our transport base will be by road. That is not to say it will be so in 30 years. In the meantime we have to allow a better road system.”
The proposal recommended by the transport committee is now projected to cost $1.3 billion over 15 years and includes:
reducing the footprint for Mt Wellington Highway while allowing for bus lanes, service lanes and walking & cycling improvementsreplacing the underpass at the Mt Wellington Highway & Waipuna Rd intersection with a new local street running beside the rail corridor, reducing the width of Mt Wellington Highwayincluding a cover over the new street & rail corridor at Panmure rail station, between Ellerslie-Panmure Highway & Mountain Rdaccess to the new Sylvia Park rail station and improvements to the intersection of Carbine Rd & the South Eastern Highway (SEART) provided by grade separation, in this case a bridgeno widening of Carbine Rd between SEART & Waipuna Rd, andmaintaining existing access to Ireland Rd from Waipuna Rd.
Attribution: Council agenda & meeting, council release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.