The NZ Transport Agency has identified an additional Waitemata Harbour crossing (AWHC), operated in conjunction with the existing Auckland Harbour Bridge (AHB), as the most appropriate solution to provide flexibility, resilience, and sustainability for the expected growth in Auckland’s population and traffic.
Together, the existing bridge and the additional crossing will provide 14 lanes for general traffic, public transport and walking and cycling.
In 2008, five regional partners – Transit NZ [the NZTA’s predecessor], Auckland and North Shore City Councils, Auckland Regional Council and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority – undertook a study to consider 159 different crossing options. Their recommended preference was for four bored tunnels: two to carry three lanes each of highway traffic and two to each carry a single line of rail, located between Esmonde & Onewa Road on the North Shore and Victoria Park in Auckland City.
Following publication of the New Zealand National Infrastructure Plan in March 2010, the Minister of Transport asked the NZTA to develop the 2008 Study further, with a focus on the costs and economic efficiency of the different forms of crossing, either bridge or tunnel. These investigations would develop a business case for an AWHC which would support the progression of a crossing through the subsequent development, consent, design and construction phases.
The business case aims to provide the NZTA with a clear understanding of the costs associated with each form of crossing and whether this represents the best value for money in the transport, economic, social and environmental setting. The Business Case will provide a greater level of robustness in the decisions that lead up to the construction of an AWHC.