It was great to enjoy a sunny Auckland Anniversary weekend and to look forward to the last month of Summer, even if we are back at work!
Recently, I have been getting around the City to look at the progress we are making on transport and other infrastructure.
Just before Christmas, we officially opened the completion of two major motorway projects, with extra lanes opened from Manukau to Papakura and from Lincoln Road to Westgate.
This will help free up traffic and, with separated cycle and walking lanes built in conjunction with both projects, and bus lanes on the North-Western, we are providing transport choices.
Just over a week ago, I participated in the launch of a $70 million project to ease traffic congestion to the airport and its employment precinct, where in coming decades another 27,000 jobs will be created. Due to be opened early next year, there will be new shoulder lanes on State Highway 20B for buses and cars carrying three passengers or more, and, again, cycleways and walkways. The upgraded road will connect the airport area with the new $60 million, 21st century bus/rail transport station at Puhinui.
Encouraging transport options both helps ease traffic congestion—a key concern in Auckland—and reduces carbon emissions and air pollution.
I also spent time recently in Manukau, Northcote and at the Waterfront Precinct looking at transformative projects for urban regeneration in these areas.
In Manukau, we are implementing plans to regenerate the town centre, improve parks, clean up the Puhinui Stream and create new affordable housing.
In Northcote, we are in the process of rebuilding the old 1960s town centre, creating a greenway around the Awataha Stream and building more intensive housing.
The waterfront development for the America’s Cup, starting around this time next year, is on time and within budget.
The international spotlight will be on Auckland from early next year and it will be an exciting and vibrant time for Aucklanders and visitors alike.
The Cup will bring major expenditure to Auckland over the coming 12 months, generating jobs and prosperity. In the longer term, there will be the legacy of new parks including on the Wynyard Point headland and a linear park on the eastern side of the Point, as well as a new waterfront park next to the ferry building.
A new maritime industry precinct is being built, permanent measures put in place to clean up water quality in the Halsey Street Basin, and permanent facilities created for a range of maritime sports.
It is also good to reflect on progress on the 14 km Central Interceptor, running from Grey Lynn to the Mangere Waste Treatment Plant.
This will cater for Auckland’s growing population and massively reduce wastewater spills into the harbour, which for decades have polluted our beaches. This project will be complete in 2024.
All this work on infrastructure inevitably causes some short-term disruption, but the long-term outcome is a better and more sustainable City for all of us, and for generations to come.
Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland. He writes a regular column for Indian Newslink.
The Manukau-Papakura Motorway (NZTA Picture)