Work on the Auckland region’s largest ever infrastructure project, the Auckland Light Rail, is now underway, Transport Minister, Michael Wood announced today.
“Given the size and complexity of the project, to move from making our announcement on the preferred route for light rail at the end of January last year to a position where early works are starting is a significant achievement,” Mr Wood (pictured) said.
“It highlights the motivation and commitment from the light rail team to delivered a linked up mass rapid transport network for Aucklanders.”
Minister Wood said the Government is upgrading New Zealand’s transport infrastructure to future proof the system for future generations to come, securing New Zealand’s economy and supporting our largest city to thrive.
Auckland Light Rail is drilling the first of 30 bore holes 40 metres into a section of Gribblehirst Park in Sandringham. Core samples from the holes will be analysed for soil and water conditions along light rail’s indicative 24-kilometre-long route connecting Auckland’s airport and the CBD.
“The ground investigations signal significant progress in the planning and delivery of New Zealand’s biggest transport infrastructure project,” Mr Wood said.
“While a single bore hole represents a small start on physical works for this significant project, it means that we are one important step closer to a thriving, linked up, low carbon Auckland that is better and easier to get around.
“The case for light rail remains as strong today as it was a year ago. It is not a stand-alone project but an important building block in a much wider plan for a fully linked up rapid transit network that includes our work on the alternative Waitemata Harbour Crossing, Rapid Transit to the North-West, major improvements to the heavy rail network, and the Eastern Busway.
“Auckland’s population is projected to rise to two million by the early 2030’s. In order to move two million people around our largest city safely and efficiently, we need well-planned and connected infrastructure. We’re not going to repeat the previous mistakes of ad hoc planning and be left scrambling to build infrastructure when it’s too late – this rapid transit system is about making sure Auckland is able to flourish as it grows.”
He said light rail in Auckland will enable thousands of new homes and jobs, safer streets, a new and easier way to travel around the city and a cleaner and healthier environment for Aucklanders.
“Auckland’s three times larger than New Zealand’s next biggest city, and this country’s premier international gateway to the world. Light rail is critical to help support and manage the city’s growth, and the increased prosperity that comes with that,” the Minister said.