Tuesday, September 28, 2021

New airport rail link takes off

Every Aucklander with access to the rail network will now have a quick and convenient trip to the airport, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said during the official opening of the new Puhinui Interchange yesterday.

The new interchange links the rail platform with a new bus area via a new elevated forecourt, making it easy to transfer. It also includes new lighting, public toilets, drop off zones, better shelter, along with improved facilities and access for cyclists and pedestrians.

“The Puhinui Interchange has supported South Auckland’s economic recovery by creating over 150 jobs during construction,” Minister Wood said.

“It’ll continue to support the recovery by making it easier for thousands of Aucklanders to get to work – Auckland Airport is one the largest employment hubs in the country with more than 900 businesses around it.

“Thanks to the SH20B upgrades completed earlier this year, the travel time between Puhinui Station and the airport on the AirportLink electric bus will only be around 10 minutes. This will also help travellers avoid pre-flight congestion as air travel picks up.”

He said the interchange had been “future-proofed” for future rail upgrades, including space for additional platforms, and for the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project, which will add a bus rapid transit bridge to better connect East Auckland with public transport options.

“The new Puhinui Station provides regular and congestion-free access to the airport and its employment precinct by public transport,” Mayor Goff said.

“For travellers and for the tens of thousands who work at the airport and the business precinct around it, it ensures people can safely use public transport in a convenient manner and avoid the peak-hour build-up of road traffic.

“With the trains and buses both being electric, it is also a demonstration of our commitment to emissions-free travel as we strive to achieve our climate change objectives.

“This latest development is part of our $31.8 billion investment in transport over the next decade to provide Aucklanders with a world-class, 21st century network of public transport to allow people to move more quickly and conveniently around their city,” Mayor Goff said.

The interchange is part of the Southwest Gateway Short-Term Airport Access Improvements (STAAI) programme of works, which is being delivered in partnership with Waka Kotahi and Auckland International Airport Limited.

The total cost of the project was $69 million, funded through Waka Kotahi NZTA, Auckland Council, the regional fuel tax and the COVID Recovery and Relief Fund. The Interchange will open to the public on Monday 26 July 2021.

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