Wednesday, 17th June, 2015

The preferred option of a new road on the north side of Mangere Inlet between SH1 at Mt Wellington and SH20 at Onehunga for the long-discussed East-West Link has been strongly endorsed by the Auckland Business Forum.

Forum chairman Michael Barnett said improved connections for freight in Auckland’s industrial hub of Onehunga, Penrose and Southdown had been identified as of ‘highest priority’ since at least 2010.

“Congestion in the area occurs every working day and 10 minute trips on local roads were regularly taking 40 minutes and sometimes longer.

“Now that NZTA and Auckland Transport have agreed on a preferred route, I strongly encourage them to progress the project as rapidly as possible. As part of the Auckland Accelerated Projects package announced by the Prime Minister in 2013, we are anticipating a work programme that will see completion no later than 2020,” he said.

While this project is about improving freight and general traffic access into and out of the Southdown-Onehunga industrial area, the Forum will be encouraging the finalised route design to future-proof for eventual connection to AMETI at Panmure and the East Tamaki business area. This link will also greatly improve access across Auckland between the eastern suburbs and the Auckland airport area for all of those cars and buses forced to travel through the congested Neilson Street area.

The Onehunga, Southdown, Penrose area generates around 18% of Auckland’s GDP and over 64,000 people are employed. Many of New Zealand’s largest distribution and logistics facilities are located there because of access to both state highways and connections to the rail network.
Projections are for a big increase in heavy truck access as the Auckland economy grows.

Given the national significance to the economy of the activity in the area, funding concerns should not restrict the design, consenting and construction by NZTA of a complete solution covering freight as well as cars and buses and which can be consented and built with speed and urgency, said Mr Barnett. “A partial solution would not be acceptable,” he said.

For more information contact Michael Barnett, mobile: 0275 631 150.

The Auckland Business Forum comprises Auckland’s major business and transport organisations including Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Employers & Manufacturers (Northern), Auckland Airport, Ports of Auckland, New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development, New Zealand Automobile Association (Auckland District), National Road Carriers Association, New Zealand Contractors Federation. Forum members are responsible for provision of about 500,000 jobs and generating a third of New Zealand’s GDP, including handling of about half the nation’s exports and imports through Ports of Auckland and Auckland Airport.