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City Rail Link (CRL) media releases

Media Releases

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City Rail Link Construction Reinforced by Local Steel Industry

City Rail Link's 'big dig' starts today

City Rail Link Limited Board appointed

Establishment of City Rail Link Limited

Auckland Mayor and Government formalise creation of CRL Ltd to deliver NZ’s largest infrastructure project

City Rail Link chairman looks forward to Monday

First tranche of City Rail Link funding

Three companies approved for CRL line wide systems tender

Lower Queen St Lawn makes way for CRL Progress

Albert Street piling works completed

Strong International Interest in City Rail Link Construction

CRL project opens up huge employment opportunities

City Rail Link construction unlocking new jobs

CRL project given another top sustainability rating

Next City Rail Link project milestone achieved

Brian Roche to chair City Rail Link Limited

CRL - one year on

Sustainability a big deal for City Rail Link

Changes coming for Britomart Station users

CRL Receives Sustainability Rating

Council Agrees Two Transport Step Changes for Auckland

Historic agreement on CRL Funding

City Rail Link work to start at Britomart

The build is on for the City Rail Link

Work on City Rail Link underway

City Rail Link construction information days

Government to move forward on City Rail Link

City Rail Link Starts

City Rail Link to be built under Commercial Bay

City Rail Link Appeals over

Mayor hails historic City Rail Link development

City Rail Link open days

Mayor announces 20 percent cut in cost of City Rail Link

Design Progress for the City Rail Link

City Rail Link Recommended for Approval

Downtown agreement next stop on City Rail Link

Len Brown welcomes government support for City Rail Link

City Rail Link Open for Public Comment

City Rail Link Route Identified

Progress on City Rail Link welcomed

Auckland: City Rail Link work accelerated

Auckland Rail Link on track after business case review

Mayor welcomes rail link review

Mayor releases compelling business case for rail loop

Auckland City considers urban rail link


 

 

Below are news releases from CRL Ltd and earlier CRL-related releases from the AT CRL Project Team, New Zealand Government and Auckland Council.


City Rail Link Construction Reinforced by Local Steel Industry

12 September 2017

Steel reinforcing being manufactured in Auckland for the City Rail Link (CRL) project is the first of its type ever made in New Zealand.

The high strength 50mm diameter reinforcing steel bars will help hold up the historic Chief Post Office when the rail tunnels are constructed beneath it and will keep water out of the below sea level excavation.

Sourcing suitable steel from overseas where steel of this size is usually manufactured proved a problem because offshore manufacturers could provide it only in quantities much greater than required.

PRODUCTION: The bars being produced at Pacific Steel

PRODUCTION: The bars being produced at Pacific Steel

CRL’s contractors, Downer Soletanche Bachy, liaised with New Zealand based suppliers over the possibility of manufacturing the bars locally and Pacific Steel, based in Otahuhu, took up the challenge.

Pacific Steel, New Zealand’s only reinforcing steel manufacturer andusing steel made from local raw materials sourced from New Zealand Steel in Glenbrook was engaged to manufacture an order of 350 tonnes after initial trials were successful.

The original design of the reinforcing cages had a more standard steel size readily available in New Zealand but this was changed to improve constructability.

Project Director, Chris Meale, said thanks to Pacific Steel coming to the party the project has become much more efficient.

“It’s great that our contractor has been able to work collaboratively with a local business for mutual benefit and that in doing so we have created a first for the local steel industry” he said.

Pacific Steel’s General Manager, Lianne Meiklejohn, said the company is always interested in meeting the needs of the infrastructure industry and is proud they were able to find a steel solution. The steel bars are required for the reinforcing cages used in the construction of diaphragm walls which support the existing foundations of the Chief Post Office, retaining the ground during excavation and preventing groundwater from getting in.

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City Rail Link’s ‘big dig’ starts today

17 July 2017

New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project – the City Rail Link (CRL) – has reached another important milestone: the start of bulk excavation work for the cut and cover rail tunnels under Albert Street in downtown Auckland.

Representing about 10% of the 3.45km length of the twin-tunnel underground rail link, the excavation involves digging 18 metres (about five storeys) at the deepest (southern) point, using long-reach excavators above ground and smaller machinery inside the reinforced trench. The tunnels will then be constructed with a cast concrete floor, walls and roof before the trench is backfilled.

The work will be undertaken progressively from Wyndham St at the southern end to Customs Street at the northern end. Excavation at the southern end is expected to be complete by October this year and the northern by the middle of next year.

Construction of the tunnel box is expected to start late this year and be completed by late 2018.

By spring 2019, this section of Albert St will be reinstated with a new road surface, bus lanes, widened footpaths and street furniture.

For those interested in watching the big dig, CRL and contractors Connectus Joint Venture (McConnell Dowell and Downer) have provided viewing windows at the Wyndham St pedestrian crossings.

CRL project director Chris Meale says the start of bulk excavation is another milestone for the project.

“This work marks a significant point in the construction process as we will start to see the tunnels taking shape,” he says.

“It will be exciting and challenging work from an engineering perspective, as we build rail tunnels below ground water level, while maintaining surface-level access to Albert St for foot and vehicle traffic.

“The bulk excavation is also providing employment opportunities with about 50 people working on site. This is likely to increase to 80 by the end of the year once tunnel box construction and water-proofing works are underway, with many being workers employed by local sub-contractors.”

Cut and cover construction is being used at each end of the CRL tunnels – between Britomart Station and the future Aotea Station and, later, where it connects to the western line at Mt Eden. Between Aotea and Mt Eden stations, the tunnels will be between 13 and 42 metres below ground and bored using a 7m diameter tunnel boring machine.

Jointly funded by the Government and Auckland Council, the CRL is Auckland’s top transport priority and is expected to be completed in 2023/24.

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City Rail Link Limited Board appointed

7 July 2017

Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges today announced appointments to the Board of City Rail Link Limited, the new company jointly owned by central and local Government with responsibility for delivering Auckland’s City Rail Link project.

Sir Brian Roche was appointed as Chair at the establishment of the company. The Board members are Russell Black, Brian Harrison, Karen Jordan and Anna Urlwin.

“I welcome the valuable knowledge and experience that these people will bring into their new roles,” Mr Joyce says. “Under the leadership of Sir Brian Roche as Chair, CRLL will drive delivery of this complex project.”

“The appointees bring considerable experience in major project management, procurement in rail projects and other large infrastructure projects, and expertise in finance, accounting and audit and risk,” Mr Bridges says. “I’m confident they are the right group to oversee this hugely important transport project.”

The appointments have been made in conjunction with Auckland Council, the joint venture partner in CRLL.

Russell Black is a consultant who is a Civil Engineer by training, and has significant experience in senior management of large transport infrastructure companies and project managing large infrastructure projects, such as the London Underground’s Jubilee Line extension.

Brian Harrison is a lawyer who specialises in infrastructure funding, procurement, PPPs and contracts. Some of the projects that he has been involved in include: acting for project finance lenders to the Arlanda express rail link, Stockholm; negotiation and delivery of the private finance portion of the funding for the construction of the Jubilee Line, London; adviser to the Strategic Rail Authority (UK) on the capitalisation and debt structuring of rail infrastructure assets.

Karen Jordan immigrated to New Zealand in late 2015 from the UK where her last role was with the Ministry of Defence as Director Contract Management, where she was responsible for improving capability across a multi-billion pound procurement and investment programme. Prior to that, she spent the majority of her career in British Gas or National Grid Plc. 

Anne Urlwin is a Wanaka-based professional director, chartered accountant and business consultant with a wide range of directorship experience. Ms Urlwin is currently the Chair of Naylor Love Enterprises (to step down in October), a director of Chorus, Southern Response Earthquake Services, OnePath Life, Steel & Tube Holdings and Summerset Group Holdings.  She has experience of both central and local government and has served on numerous Crown boards and two local government CCOs.

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More on the appointment of the CRL Board

7 July 2017

Below are links to the media releases from Hon Steven Joyce and Hon Simon Bridges and Auckland Council on appointment of the CRL Ltd Board:

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/city-rail-link-limited-board-appointed

http://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/media/mayors-office/2017/board-appointed-to-city-rail-link-limited/

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Establishment of City Rail Link Limited

30 June 2017

Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have today signed the agreements with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff that establish City Rail Link Limited to assume responsibility from tomorrow for delivering Auckland’s City Rail Link, marking the next step in transforming Auckland’s public transport.

“City Rail Link Limited (CRLL) is a new company owned jointly by central and local Government, with the sole and express responsibility of successfully delivering the game-changing City Rail Link (CRL) project,” Mr Joyce says.

“This is a complex and critical piece of infrastructure that will unlock major development opportunities across central Auckland”, Mr Joyce says, “It is crucial we have a single joint entity running the project solely focussed on delivering a high-quality result for the city while effectively managing the investment of both the Crown and Auckland Council.”

“This is a massive public transport project to deliver New Zealand’s first underground rail system. I want to congratulate the project team that has successfully managed the CRL project to date, and supported the transition to CRLL,” Mr Bridges says.

SIGNING: CRL Project Director Chris Meale (left) discusses the project with Auckland's Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Finance Minister Steven Joyce at the construction site ceremony marking the signing of the CRL Ltd agreements

SIGNING: CRL Project Director Chris Meale (left) discusses the project with Auckland's Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Finance Minister Steven Joyce at the construction site ceremony marking the signing of the CRL Ltd agreements

“Today’s signing is the next milestone in this important addition to Auckland’s public transport system. Auckland’s population predicted to grow by more than 700,000 people over the next 30 years, the CRL will play an important role in getting people in and out of the city with ease.

“Once complete, the CRL will fundamentally change the way people get around central Auckland and demonstrates the Government’s is commitment to Auckland and its Public Transport systems.

“CRL is Auckland’s top new transport priority. It will double the capacity of the whole existing rail network and provide significant travel time savings for commuters,” Mr Bridges says.

CRL: Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Finance Minister Steven Joyce inspect the construction outside the Britomart Transport Centre

CRL: Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Finance Minister Steven Joyce inspect the construction outside the Britomart Transport Centre

“The Crown and Auckland Council have signed agreements transferring the project to CRLL, formalising their partnership to jointly fund and oversee it through to completion,” Mr Joyce says.

“Under the leadership of Sir Brian Roche as Chair, CRLL will drive delivery of this complex project.”

Once complete, the CRL will be one of New Zealand’s largest-ever transport projects. The 3.4 kilometre double-track underground rail line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.

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Auckland Mayor and Government formalise creation of CRL Ltd to deliver NZ’s largest infrastructure project

30 June 2017

Today, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, Deputy Mayor Cashmore and Ministers Steven Joyce and Simon Bridges, formalised the partnership between Government and Auckland Council to deliver the 3.45 kilometre City Rail Link - New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project.

When complete the $3.4 billion City Rail Link will create two new underground stations (Aotea and Karangahape) and double both the number of trains on the Auckland network and the capacity of people on trains.

Mayor Phil Goff said, “This is an important project for Auckland. It will double the capacity of our rail network and ease congestion enabling 30,000 people an hour to move during peak travel times.”

This isn’t just a transport project; it is an economic development project that will build an artery to feed thousands of employees into New Zealand’s highest value employment precinct.

Over the next 30 years, approximately 60 per cent of New Zealand’s population growth is expected to occur in Auckland with city centre and city fringe resident numbers doubling to 140,000, with employee numbers there doubling to more than 200,000.

“The CRL will help Auckland deal with the challenge of unprecedented population growth and keep our city moving, but it is only one part of the transport jigsaw. We still need government to work with Auckland Council to address the infrastructure funding gap and accelerate projects agreed in ATAP.”

Mayor Goff said the CRL is also good news for Aucklanders looking for employment and training.

“The construction of the CRL will not only help ease pressure on our roads, it will provide training opportunities, apprenticeships and jobs for thousands of Kiwi construction workers over the coming years.

“The boom in construction in the city has created a critical skills shortage in a number of areas and the City Rail Link will provide opportunities for people to find jobs, get trained and develop career pathways.”

Up to 1,600 people will be needed to build Auckland’s City Rail Link during the project’s peak period of operation with at least 600 general construction workers during peak construction, as well as workers with more specialised skills. There will be opportunities for new entrants to the workforce and for more experienced staff.

About the CRLL

CRLL is a crown entity, listed under Schedule 4A of the Public Finance Act, owned by the Crown and Auckland Council. The company has full governance, operational and financial responsibility for the CRL, with clear delivery targets and performance expectations.

It is governed by a board chairman and directors. Procurement responsibilities were transferred from Auckland Transport to CRLL.

The Crown and Auckland Council expect that the management, delivery and completion of the CRL will be an exemplar model for the efficient and effective provision of public infrastructure through central and local government collaboration.

KiwiRail, the state-owned enterprise responsible for all rail operations, has a formal role in ensuring the CRL's interoperability with the wider rail network and the services, such as freight, that it provides.

AT and KiwiRail are engaged by CRLL to provide technical and operational support services.

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City Rail Link chairman looks forward to Monday

30 June 2017

City Rail Link Ltd, established to deliver the City Rail Link on behalf of its joint sponsors the New Zealand Government and Auckland Council, comes into effect tomorrow.

Chairman Sir Brian Roche said today he was looking forward to delivering the project for Auckland and working with the four CRLL directors to be named next week.

They will bring a wealth of talent and skills with them which will help maintain momentum and progress on the project as it expands from the current 15 per cent of the project works to the whole 3.4km length in the next few years. “Being part of delivering New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project and its first underground suburban commuter rail is an exciting prospect, he said.

Mr Roche said he saw the management, delivery and completion of the project through CRL Ltd to set best practice for central and local government collaboration on the provision of public infrastructure.

“On a day-to-day basis it will be business as usual for the project with the same staff making it happen."

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First tranche of City Rail Link funding

25 May 2017

Budget 2017 provides $436 million of new capital for Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL), as the first tranche of the Government’s investment in this critical transport project for Auckland, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

“The Government announced in 2016 that it would support accelerating the delivery of the CRL to help address Auckland’s transport needs by committing to fund half of the expected $2.8 billion to $3.4 billion cost,” Mr Bridges says.

“The CRL is a game-changer for central Auckland and this funding demonstrates the Government’s commitment to Auckland and its public transport systems.

“CRL is Auckland’s top new transport priority. It will double the capacity of the existing rail network and cut travel time for commuters.

“The CRL is already bringing economic benefits to Auckland and New Zealand creating hundreds of jobs during construction,” Mr Bridges says.

Once complete, the CRL will be one of New Zealand’s largest-ever transport projects. The 3.4 kilometre double-track underground rail line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.

The Government and Auckland Council are now finalising the necessary funding and governance arrangements that will accompany both parties’ significant investment, including setting up an independent company to deliver the project. Further announcements on the details of these arrangements will be made in the coming months.

The Government’s investment in the CRL will be provided progressively through Budgets 2017 to 2020.

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Lower Queen St Lawn makes way for CRL Progress

26 April 2017

It’s almost time to say goodbye to Lower Queen Street as we know it.

From May until 2019, the area in front of Britomart Train Station that has been an inner city lawn and public space for the last year will become a City Rail Link (CRL) construction zone.

Last year’s removal of buses in Lower Queen Street allowed the street to be taken back by the public and partnering with Activate Auckland, the CRL team installed artificial grass, surface paint and artwork to turn it into a popular space.

It has become a meeting point, a transit space, a transport thoroughfare and a surprise space with buskers, art installations, tour promoters, interactive community events, food stalls and the host to the memorable CRL construction launch ceremony.

Although the space is surrounded by construction zones, the transformation has proved to be popular with visitors and locals alike especially over summer when deck chairs were used daily.

Now it will take on a new look as contractors prepare for the cut and cover works to build the CRL twin tunnels from the outer platforms at Britomart. In addition, the adjacent Commercial Bay development needs more space.

However it’ll still be a way for pedestrians to get from Quay to Customs and to Britomart Station. Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times as will vehicle access to nearby Tyler and Galway Streets.

From the beginning of May, the pack down of Lower Queen Street will begin with the trees and i-Site getting new homes and the grass being given its final mow. Construction hoardings will appear followed by the long awaited next stage of CRL construction.

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Three companies approved for CRL linewide systems tender

24 April 2017

Three companies have been shortlisted to tender for linewide systems integration, testing and commissioning for the City Rail Link. There were eight international expressions of interest for the work and three have been selected to move to the request for tender phase.

They are:

  • John Holland NZ Ltd
  • Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction Pty Ltd
  • RCR (Infrastructure) NZ Ltd

CRL project director Chris Meale said it was great to see breadth of competition from credible companies showing interest in the contract seven (C7) work.

The three chosen will now have about three months to tender and following evaluation the successful company is likely to be appointed in the last quarter of this year. The first focus will be on design development for optimal value and efficiency.

The contract will be for the systems that include tracks, power systems, communications, controls, ventilation and signalling from Britomart, through the CRL and connecting to the western line at Mt Eden Station.

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Albert Street piling works completed

13 April 2017

The City Rail Link (CRL) project has reached another milestone, with the last of 362 piles dug on Albert Street, between Customs Street and Wyndham Street.

‘Gomer’ - the nine-storey-high piling rig affectionately named after 1960s TV character Gomer Pyle - began piling in September last year. Each pile was drilled to a depth of 20 metres and filled with reinforced concrete, which will support the trench walls within which the CRL’s twin tunnels will be constructed.

FINISHED: Gomer's last pile on the corner of Customs and Albert Streets

FINISHED: Gomer's last pile on the corner of Customs and Albert Streets

Connectus, the project’s contractor, is now forming the concrete capping beams which will be placed on top of the piles to tie them together. Steel I beams will then span the width of the trench to brace the piles. This marks the start of construction of the ‘cut and cover’ tunnels across Customs Street and up Albert Street to Wyndham Street.

The cut and cover methodology is being used in this part of the project due to the geology, shallow position of the tunnel and proximity of underground utilities. It involves the excavation of a deep trench between the rows of piles and construction of the tunnel structure (essentially a concrete box), after which the trench will be backfilled and the road reinstated. This work is due to be completed in late 2018.

CREW: Staff from AT and the Connectus Joint Venture with ‘Gomer’ on completion of his last pile

CREW: Staff from AT and the Connectus Joint Venture with ‘Gomer’ on completion of his last pile

Last week, the tunnel boring machine (TBM) simultaneously excavating and installing a new stormwater main 18 metres under Albert Street, finished its 500-metre journey between Swanson and Wellesley Streets.

Now located 10 metres east of its original alignment, the new stormwater pipe will allow the CRL tunnels to be constructed under Albert Street without interference to the stormwater system, while also helping to future-proof Auckland’s stormwater capacity.

A smaller TBM has also been travelling under the Albert and Victoria Street intersection, creating a diversion for the Orakei Main Sewer flow, to enable the original sewer to be strengthened ahead of the CRL’s mid-town station construction.

The four pipe-jack sites used to launch and receive the TBMs will now start to be demobilised. Between now and September, construction equipment will be cleared, permanent pipe connections made, the shaft sites backfilled and the roads reinstated. 

CRL Project Director Chris Meale says building this major civil infrastructure project in a busy downtown location, hasn’t been without its challenges and impacts on the community, which AT is conscious of.

“It’s been a real feat of engineering completing the works in an environment filled with a large number of underground services - some of which date back more than 100 years and for which little to no records exist - all the while maintaining vehicle access around the site, albeit under restricted conditions."

“Moving now to the excavation stage is an exciting time for the project and takes us a step further in the construction of the CRL for Auckland.”

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Strong International Interest in City Rail Link Construction

5 April 2017

The City Rail Link (CRL) has attracted strong International interest in delivering the CRL tunnels and stations contract for Auckland.

Ten companies from Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand have participated in the pre-qualification phase of the contract and eight have been approved to move to the next phase which is Expression of Interest.

The two that were not approved are specialist service providers best placed to provide sub- consultancy services to the eventual contractor.

Project director Chris Meale said it was great to see such a wide range of positive interest in delivering the project for Auckland.

“We had hundreds of people attend an industry briefing late last year and it is rewarding to see that investment paying off for us in the quality and breadth of experience that the bidders are bringing to the process.”

“We are competing with other major infrastructure projects worldwide and it is important to attract enough interest for a competitive process that will ensure value for money for Auckland.”

Expressions of interest for the tunnel and station work will be released shortly, then evaluated and in about October two will be shortlisted for the tender phase.

“The tender process, for a project as complex as CRL, will take several months. Tenders will then be evaluated before the contractor is selected next year” said Mr Meale.

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CRL project opens up huge employment opportunities

3 April 2017

Construction of Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) will require about 1600 people delivering the project at its peak. This could include opportunities for hundreds of workers who are new to the workforce or not currently employed.

The CRL is New Zealand’s biggest infrastructure project, construction on the underground rail link connecting Britomart and the city centre to the western line near Mt Eden began in December 2015.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says this is great news for Aucklanders currently not in employment. “Construction on the CRL is ramping up with the first two contracts and the release of more tenders for the future work. We’re going to need a wide range of skills and that means fantastic job opportunities opening up.

“The boom in construction in the city has created a critical skill shortage in a number of areas and the City Rail Link will provide opportunities for people to find jobs, get trained and develop career pathways.”

Mr Goff adds, “The CRL is an important project for Auckland. It will double the capacity of our rail network and ease congestion enabling 30,000 people an hour to move by rail during peak travel times.”

The project estimates that at peak 600 general construction workers will be needed as well as those with more specialised skills.  Labour requirements will vary with opportunities for new entrants to the workforce as well as the need for skilled labour and trades including plumbers and electricians and those involved in specialist rail systems and signalling.

Project Director Chris Meale says: “We’re looking for contractors to provide internships, cadetships, apprenticeships or equivalent pathways to learning as well as upskilling and reskilling to equip people for the present and future. The project is a long-term employment offering, with the CRL not due to be completed until 2023, giving time for people to develop and progress in their careers."

“This opens up opportunities for employment, training and social innovation especially for Mana Whenua, Māori, Pasifika and young people aged 15 to 24 years. This will respond to the 162,000 young people of that age who are not in employment, education or training in New Zealand, including 27,000 Māori and 11,000 Pasifika people. CRL is committed to promoting a culture of equity, inclusion and diversity with a social outcomes strategy that also targets others facing barriers in the labour market.”

He says pre-employment training will build confidence and competence, provide them with relevant work ready skills and significantly improve their chances of gaining quality employment in the construction, infrastructure and rail industries.

“We also want to encourage socially innovative businesses. Such businesses want to make a profit but their point of difference is that they generate social benefits beyond the products and services they deliver. Many Māori and Pasifika businesses would be considered socially innovative."

“CRL wants to encourage the upcoming generation to pursue careers in the trades and infrastructure sector through targeted and innovative school, university and educational institute programmes. It’s an exciting sector with diverse opportunities that has a great future.”

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City Rail Link construction unlocking new jobs

3 April 2017

Economic Development and Transport Minister Simon Bridges says significant employment opportunities are being created by construction of the City Rail Link (CRL) in Auckland.

The joint project between Government and Auckland Council is New Zealand’s largest transport infrastructure project. Construction of the early works began in December 2015, with the project expected to be complete by 2024.

“The CRL will provide significant transport benefits in the future, and it is already bringing economic benefits to Aucklanders and New Zealanders through the hundreds of employment opportunities being created during construction,” Mr Bridges says.

“Construction is continuing to expand, with two contracts underway and more to follow. It is estimated that about 600 general construction workers will be needed for the construction of the CRL with an estimated 1600 jobs at the peak of works.”

Labour requirements for the CRL will vary with opportunities for new entrants to the workforce as well as for skilled labour and trades including plumbers and electricians and those involved in specialist rail systems and signalling.

Mr Bridges says major infrastructure projects like the CRL are supporting strong economic growth.

“The construction industry is booming with the national demand for building and construction being heavily driven by Auckland. New Zealand continues to construct more by value than ever before with the total value expected to grow to $37 billion towards the end of 2017,” Mr Bridges says.

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CRL project given another top sustainability rating

22 March 2017

Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) project has been recognised for a “world first” - embedding cultural values into its sustainability approach.

The CRL was last night awarded a “Leading” Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Design rating by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), the highest possible achievement in the IS scheme.

The rating is for the design and construction planning of Contract 1 – the work through and under Britomart Station and Lower Queen Street to the former Downtown Shopping Centre site. A Downer/Soletanche Bachy joint venture is the delivery partner for this contract. The designers are Aurecon, Mott MacDonald, Grimshaw, Jasmax and Arup.

This is only the second “Leading” rating awarded in New Zealand, the first also went to the CRL. It was for the design and construction planning (with Connectus) of Contract 2 – the Albert Street tunnels and a new stormwater main under Albert Street. 

In awarding the Contract 1 Design rating, ISCA considered project performance across six themes: Management & Governance; Using Resources; Emissions, Pollution & Waste; Ecology; People & Place; and Innovation.

ISCA noted several highlights for Contract 1:

  • The CRL’s initiative collaborating with Mana Whenua to embed Māori cultural values across the IS framework: a first globally
  • Water-efficient fittings specified for the refurbished Britomart station are projected to reduce water usage by more than 50%, with associated reductions in utility bills
  • A projected reduction in energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by over 25% through efficient construction techniques, including replacing diesel generators with grid electricity, and the specification of energy-efficient equipment for the refurbished station
  • Reducing waste by recycling items such as the uPVC piping from the station plaza water feature, and carefully removing the bluestone feature wall tiles for reinstatement once the tunnels are completed
  • The protection and enhancement of the Category 1 heritage-listed station building
  • CRL Project Director Chris Meale says the project is committed to setting the benchmark for sustainable design, construction and operation of infrastructure in New Zealand and the latest recognition shows it is on the right track to achieving this.

Antony Sprigg, CEO ISCA, says Contract 1 achieved a rating score of 80.7, well above the 75 points required to gain a “Leading” IS rating.

“Contract 1’s Leading IS rating attests to CRL’s local, national and international leadership through their infrastructure sustainability commitment and outstanding performance to date.”

CRL construction is well underway and reporting to date shows it is on track to deliver a sustainable project for Auckland.

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Next City Rail Link project milestone achieved

19 January 2017

The first contract documents for the entire City Rail Link (CRL) project from the city to Mt Eden go out to the industry today, marking an important milestone for the project.

Expressions of Interest are being sought for the design, procurement, installation and commissioning of all tunnel track work and rail systems between Britomart Station and the Western Line at Mt Eden. The work involves the provisioning of track slab, track, overhead line, signalling, control systems, tunnel ventilation, fire strategy and communications system.

The successful contractor will be responsible for the integration of the systems with the existing operations at Britomart and Mt Eden and the new tunnels and stations being built for the CRL.

The documents, the first to be released to build the project past its current Britomart and Albert Street sites, have been prepared as a result of the agreement between the Government and Auckland Council to jointly fund the project.

The C7 systems package will be procured using an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) model followed by a Design and Construct contract.

Other packages to be released this year include one for the construction of the CRL tunnels and new city, Karangahape and Mt Eden stations and a further package for a stormwater diversion in Mt Eden.

CRL Project Director Chris Meale says the CRL is fast gaining momentum.

“The new Britomart entrance is in place so we can start building the tunnels, the new stormwater pipe in Albert Street is reaching the halfway stage and a third of the piles for the tunnels in Albert Street have been completed. Now we are looking further afield to Mt Eden and the systems package going to market today is a visible sign of that progress.

A new future for transport in Auckland is taking shape and I’d like to thank Aucklanders for their patience as we build it.”

Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) project has been recognised for a “world first” - embedding cultural values into its sustainability approach.

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Brian Roche to chair City Rail Link Limited

22 December 2016

Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff have announced the appointment of Brian Roche as Chair Designate of City Rail Link Limited.

Under the Heads of Agreement signed by the Crown and Auckland Council, City Rail Link Limited will be an independent company, created to deliver Auckland’s CRL.

“CRL is a significant infrastructure project, which will enhance the capacity and performance of Auckland rail services, and improve transport outcomes across Auckland,” Mr Bridges says.

“Mr Roche has an extensive background and track record in both the public and private sectors, and can provide the leadership needed to make this important project a success."

“He has worked with central and local government, and has an excellent understanding of large scale project delivery. The Mayor of Auckland and I are pleased to announce he will use this experience to deliver the CRL."

“Mr Roche’s previous experience with the Auckland Regional Transport Agency, New Zealand Transport Agency and his current role with Transmission Gully will be of particular value.”

His appointment will begin from the incorporation of City Rail Link Limited.

Mr Roche is currently the Group Chief Executive of New Zealand Post Group, and is due to step down from this position in April 2017.

He currently chairs Antarctica NZ, Hurricanes GP Ltd, Major Events Investment Panel, Tait New Zealand Ltd and Wellington Gateway Partnership.

He previously chaired the Auckland Regional Transport Agency, New Zealand Transport Agency and Rugby NZ 2011, amongst others.

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CRL - one year on

12 December 2016

One year on, Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) construction is on target and the city centre continues to grow.

Project director Chris Meale says the project and contractor teams have worked hard to liaise pro-actively with businesses and others affected by the work.

Chris Meale thanked Aucklanders for their patience in dealing with the massive construction work going on in the inner city, including the CRL work.

"While traffic delays in downtown Auckland are below predicted levels as people take more public transport and change their travel patterns, we appreciate that such work does cause inconvenience and frustrations."

Construction on the underground rail line linking Britomart and the city centre to the western line near Mt Eden began 12 months ago.

More than 90,000 people work in the city centre daily. Auckland Transport data over the past 12 months shows:

  • More people are travelling into the city. The morning peak in September was 1.6 per cent higher than a year previously
  • Fewer people are bringing in their car. In September 2015, 54 per cent of peak morning visitors were in a private car. This year the number has fallen to 49 per cent
  • More Aucklanders are using public transport and cycling. Train patronage in October was 17.7 per cent higher than the previous October
  • Mean peak traffic speeds in the city centre are the same or slightly higher than before CRL began.

Chris Meale says impressive statistics are being achieved for New Zealand’s biggest infrastructure project.

So far:

  • All contractors have completed a combined total of 273,000 hours of work. This equates to one person working 136 year
  • The Connectus Joint Venture (McConnell Dowell and Hawkins) is constructing the cut and cover tunnels under and along Albert St from Customs St to Wyndham St. CRL works from Britomart Station to Wyndham St are on schedule. All four shafts required to move deep stormwater pipes in Albert Street have been excavated to the required depth. Tunnelling is underway and has advanced 60m from Victoria Street to Swanson Street with the contractor advancing four to six pipes a day. At this rate, the 300m drive to Swanson Street will be completed by Christmas
  • The contract requires 360 piles to be constructed and 125 jet grout columns. So far 100 piles and 100 jet grout columns have been constructed. This is ahead of schedule despite being carried out in areas of the most unknown geotechnical conditions. Downer NZ and Soletanche Bachy Joint Venture who are building a temporary entrance from Commerce Street for the Britomart Transport Centre are on target to open the building by 16 January next year when the Queen Street entrances close
  • AT contractors have achieved full environmental compliance at every audit. Two isolated incidents of uncontrolled run off were dealt with quickly
  • One contractor has achieved a leading rating for sustainability which is above the target of excellent. A rating for the other contractor is pending
  • There has been only one medical injury.

Mr Meale says, "The successes to date are a credit to everyone involved and it means Auckland can soon look forward to the transformation the City Rail Link will bring."

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Sustainability a big deal for City Rail Link

2 December 2016

Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) project is on track to deliver substantial sustainability benefits, according to its annual review released this week.

CRL Project Director Chris Meale says the aim is to build New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project while creating the least possible waste, using minimal resources, choosing the right resource and method for the task and contributing to Auckland’s social fabric.

“Embedding sustainability within the thinking of the CRL management team and our contractors has been key to our current success in this area. We want to set the benchmark for delivering sustainable infrastructure in New Zealand.”

Construction has begun on the CRL which will connect Britomart with two new underground train stations (mid-town near Aotea Centre and at Karangahape Road) and a redeveloped Mt Eden station where it will join the western line and create an efficient two-way rail system.

During the current construction, the team is working on key sustainability targets with its contractors and so far is achieving success.

  • The CRL has been awarded a ‘Leading’ rating by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), the highest possible achievement in the IS scheme. The rating is for the design and construction planning (with Connectus) for the Albert Street tunnels and a stormwater diversion
  • ISCA has acknowledged as a ‘world first’ innovation, the process the CRL has undertaken to engage and partner with Mana Whenua to embed cultural values into an industry recognised sustainability framework
  • The team is striving to send zero waste to landfill by supporting and challenging contractors to avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover as much waste as possible. For example, Green Gorilla skip bins from the construction site are processed in a purpose-built Resource Recovery and Transfer Station facility where more than 75 per cent of waste materials are diverted from landfill
  • The team is measuring the project’s carbon footprint and has used these carbon calculations to help optimise the design. Projected savings during construction are of slightly more than one million litres of diesel, and a reduction in total emissions equivalent to nearly 18,000 flights between Auckland and London
  • Systems have been set up to track progress monthly.

Chris Meale says that the CRL itself will offer major environmental benefits.

In Auckland, transport is responsible for about 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions with the majority from road transport.

“CRL will double the peak capacity of the rail network as well as significantly reduce travel times giving more vehicle commuters the choice of travelling by train.

“This will reduce the city’s footprint and help the country meet its international commitments on climate change.”

You can read the Sustainability annual report at https://at.govt.nz/media/1972000/crl-sustainability-annual-review-2015-2016.pdf  

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Changes coming for Britomart Station users

30 November 2016

Downtown train users returning from their Christmas break will find the current Queen Street entrances for the Britomart Transport Centre closed and new entrances created for Britomart station.

Auckland Transport says the Chief Post Office building, which houses the present entrances at Britomart, is closing for strengthening works prior to the City Rail Link (CRL) tunnels being constructed.

To catch a train from downtown, passengers will need to use a new entrance in Commerce Street, behind Queen Street. Access will be available from Tyler Street, Galway Street and the Takutai Square (eastern entrance). The new temporary entrance will operate for the next three years.

Auckland Transport is assuring passengers that all trains and timetables will run as usual. Britomart will remain operational throughout the construction work, which is being done by a Downer Soletanche Bachy joint venture.

The ticket and top up machines, the ticket office and customer service centre will be moved to the new entrance. There will be new toilets as the present ones at the Chief Post Office building will close. There will be stair and some escalator access from the Commerce Street entrance. Takutai Square has escalator access. For those unable to use the stairs, there will be still be lifts to take people to the platform.

An information kiosk has been set up in the present building next to the Customer Service Centre to explain the forthcoming changes. AT ambassadors will also be helping guide people when the changeover occurs.

The Chief Post Office building was opened in 1912 by the then Prime Minister William Massey in front of a crowd of about 10,000 Aucklanders. As a heritage building, all heritage values will be maintained during construction. Those involved in the construction are working closely with Heritage New Zealand.

When completed, the City Rail Link project will mean more frequent trains across the network, more direct services to the city centre and will double the number of people who can use trains at peak times. The CRL will also provide opportunities for new commercial, residential and retail developments, particularly around the stations.

Key Facts

  • The CRL will use twin 3.4 kilometre long tunnels up to 42 metres below the city streets
  • It is estimated to take five and a half years to build
  • There will be two new stations – mid-town close to Aotea Centre with entrances at Wellesley and Victoria Streets (11 metres deep) and at Mercury Lane just off Karangahape Rd (33 metres). Mount Eden Station will be redeveloped.

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Council Agrees Two Transport Step Changes for Auckland

16 September 2016

On Wednesday 14 September, two significant transport agreements were made by Auckland Council and the government. The City Rail Link and works identified by the Auckland Transport Alignment Project will ease the pressure on our current transport network and begin to unlock $2.5 billion of productivity currently lost to congestion.

Enabling works have started for the City Rail Link (CRL) but until now the funding responsibilities were not set in stone. With the signing of the Heads of Agreement we have agreed 50/50 funding share with government, to be managed by an independent Board of Directors.

The expected benefits for the whole transport network will be significant. The capacity of the network will increase from 15,000 to 30,000 passengers per hour, increased rail patronage will ease pressure on arterial roads and motorways, and urban renewal projects around stations are estimated to be valued around $5 billion.

CRL fast facts:

  • 50/50 funding between Auckland Council and central government
  • 3.4 km of new rail costing between $2.8 billion and $3.5 billion
  • Council funding budgeted for in 2015-2025 Long Term Plan
  • Urban renewal developments with an expected value of $5 billion
  • Network capacity will double to 30,000 passengers per hour

Related to the CRL progress is the completion of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP). ATAP delivers an agreement between the Government and Council on the short, medium and long tern deliverables that are required to lift productivity and decongest the network. The projects are a mix of roading works both motorway and arterial, current network improvements and technological developments.

By agreeing the priority projects, council and government can prioritise and agree funding for the works so desperately needed to unlock Auckland’s constrained transport system. There is an estimated $4 billion gap between funding available and the ATAP list of deliverables in the first decade. The next stage of work will be filling the funding gap and begin construction.

This is a truly exciting time for Auckland, one we will look back on with more appreciation, but for now hard work remains for the government and incoming council.

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Historic agreement on CRL Funding

14 September 2016

Auckland Mayor Len Brown describes today’s signing of an agreement with the government on funding for the City Rail Link (CRL) as unprecedented and an historic milestone.

“Central Government and Auckland Council are now in clear agreement that the CRL is at the heart of dealing with the city’s growth, with propelling our economy, and creating a future Aucklanders deserve.”

Today Len Brown and Transport Minister Simon Bridges signed an agreement on the contractual relationship between the parties including procurement structure and a 50/50 funding arrangement of the entire project.

This will allow the “main works” tendering process to begin and for specialist constructors to make available the people and machinery needed to build the CRL.

Features of the Heads of Agreement include:

  • A 50/50 funding arrangement where Auckland Council and the Crown each pay half of the total capitalised costs of the project
  • The principals to the agreement, referred to as “sponsors”, are the Government and Auckland Council
  • The establishment of a company (City Rail Link Limited) through which the Government and Council will oversee the delivery of the project
  • Joint share in development opportunities arising from the project
  • The technical and operational aspects of project delivery are to be carried out by Auckland Transport working to the City Rail Link company
  • KiwiRail have a formal role in ensuring the CRL’s interoperability with the wider rail network and the services it provides, such as freight.

Today’s signing took place at the Victoria St underground shaft from where tunnel boring machines will start the work.

The Mayor said the CRL had been his number one priority and today’s agreement was the culmination of six years of Auckland negotiating with the government.

“Today I am very incredibly proud to stand with the Minister of Transport and together ensure this project can now proceed and be funded for the future benefit of all Aucklanders.”

The City Rail Link is New Zealand's largest public transport project. It will more than double the number of people able to use Auckland’s rail network.

Both Len Brown and Simon Bridges, along with Prime Minister John Key and other dignitaries, had formally marked the start of the construction of the CRL with a groundbreaking ceremony at the downtown Britomart Train Station on 3 June 2016.

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Government confirms City Rail Link funding

14 September 2016

The Government has agreed to fund half the cost of Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL), Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have announced.

The Government and Auckland Council today signed a Heads of Agreement, under which the Crown will fund 50 per cent of the CRL. The total cost of the project is estimated to be between $2.8 billion and $3.4 billion, and the Crown will make its 50 per cent funding progressively available once a Sponsors’ Agreement is in place.

“In January this year, the Prime Minister announced the Government would accelerate delivery of the CRL to help address Auckland’s transport issues. This agreement is an important milestone in the project and it underlines the Government’s commitment to keeping Auckland moving,” Mr Joyce says.

“The Heads of Agreement sets out in-principle commitments from Government and Auckland Council, and contains broader funding, governance and risk management arrangements."

“The Heads of Agreement also outlines arrangements for establishing an independent Special Purpose Entity to deliver the CRL, working with Auckland Transport, KiwiRail and others as necessary.”

A more detailed Sponsors’ Agreement will be developed in the coming months to give effect to the Crown’s and Council’s commitments. The Government will start to make the Crown funding available once this is in place – which may be as early as 2017.

Once complete, the CRL will be one of New Zealand’s largest-ever transport projects. The 3.4 kilometre underground train line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.

“CRL is one of Auckland’s top transport priorities It will double the capacity of the metro rail network and provide significant travel time savings for commuters, particularly those travelling from fast-growing western suburbs,” Mr Bridges says.

“The Government’s commitment to the CRL has been driven by strong growth in rail patronage in recent years and the need to provide investment certainty for large-scale property developments around Auckland’s CBD, including around the new and improved stations at Aotea Square, Karangahape Road and Mount Eden,” Mr Bridges says.

“The investment in City Rail Link reflects the Government’s strong commitment to meeting Auckland’s transport needs, with improvements to the transport network focused on accommodating the growing population as well as supporting ongoing economic growth,” Mr Bridges says.


City Rail Link receives sustainability rating

14 September 2016

The City Rail Link (CRL) has been awarded a ‘Leading’ Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Design rating by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), the highest possible achievement in the IS scheme.

The rating to Auckland Transport is for the design and construction planning (with Connectus) of Contract 2 – Albert Street tunnels and a stormwater diversion.

To award a rating, ISCA considers project performance across six themes: Management & Governance; Using Resources; Emissions, Pollution & Waste; Ecology; People & Place; and Innovation. The process the CRL has undertaken to engage and partner with Mana Whenua to embed cultural values into an industry recognised sustainability framework has been acknowledged as a ‘world first’ innovation.

CRL Project Director Chris Meale says Auckland Transport worked closely with Mana Whenua to tailor the IS tool to suit not only Auckland, but also the New Zealand cultural context. Also through this partnership with Mana Whenua, the CRL design is developing a cultural richness and sense of place, which will be carried through to the completed project.

“We are committed to setting the benchmark for sustainable design, construction and operation of infrastructure in New Zealand. The sheer scale and significance of the CRL means taking a sustainable approach throughout the project lifecycle, is not an option, it just makes sense. This recognition tells us we’re on the right track to achieving our sustainability goals.”

The submission to ISCA consisted of design documentation produced through the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) phase with AT’s Principal Technical Advisors (Aurecon with Mott MacDonald, Jasmax, Grimshaw and Arup) and delivery partner Connectus, the McConnell Dowell/Hawkins joint venture.

Antony Sprigg, CEO ISCA, says the City Rail Link Contract 2 package achieved a rating score of 78.7, well above the 50 points required to gain an ‘Excellent’ rating.

“The CRL team put together a very high quality submission demonstrating well prepared management plans, good policies and procedures, opportunities for energy reduction and strong stakeholder engagement and Mana Whenua participation.

“It is clear that this project will achieve some excellent sustainability outcomes if all the good intentions and well-planned processes are implemented on the ground.”

Key CRL sustainability initiatives planned over the project lifetime include:
· Switching from diesel generators to grid electricity during construction
· The use of LED street-lighting for the Albert Street reinstatement
· Collaborating with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to promote efficient driving and monitor machinery during construction to reduce fuel use
· Changing excavation methods to reduce diesel and water use
· Installing tree pits in the street to collect and filter stormwater runoff.

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City Rail Link work to start at Britomart

22 July 2016

Commuters using Britomart Transport Centre will notice a few changes from this Sunday (24 July) as the City Rail Link takes another step forward.

After years of planning, the first phase of work will begin at Britomart next week with the closure of the Commerce Street entrance for six months. The station will stay open and will be accessible from Tyler, Galway and Lower Queen Street, as well as the eastern entrance at Takutai Square.

A new entrance facility will be built in Commerce Street to replicate the facilities in the historic Chief Post Office (CPO) building which will be closed early next year to allow the CRL tunnels to be built beneath.

CRL project director Chris Meale says it’s an exciting next step for the project with construction on two fronts; Britomart and Albert Street, making the project very real for Aucklanders. “We’re beginning construction on the busiest public transport centre in New Zealand which will continue to function throughout the work.”

Hoardings will be in place throughout construction with wayfinding and signage to guide commuters to the nearest entrance/exit. During this phase, bus shelters and the drop off/pickup area will be removed with alternative drop off and mobility parking on Galway Street. Two delivery and service vehicle spaces will also be available on Tyler Street.

Dale Burtenshaw, Project Director for the constructors leading the Britomart construction says: “It is fantastic that Downer Soletanche Bachy JV can now start the works with Auckland Transport for the first construction package to the City Rail Link. Given our history with the Chief Post Office and construction of the Britomart Transport Centre, we are excited to work together to on this very important project.”

The temporary station entrance will be completed in early 2017 and will house the ticketing office, retail units and will function as the main entrance to the station. Phase two will begin once the temporary station entrance is complete and is expected to finish in 2020.

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The build is on for the City Rail Link

2 June 2016

Auckland’s top transport priority has taken a major step forward with today’s ground-breaking ceremony for the City Rail Link (CRL). Mayor Len Brown, Auckland Transport chairman Dr Lester Levy, the Prime Minister and Minister of Transport officially marked the start of the construction.

When completed the $2.5 billion project will mean more frequent trains across the network and more direct services to the city centre. Auckland Transport will be able to grow the present rail network to reach an average better than one train every 10 minutes at peak for most stations.

The CRL will almost double the number of people on the trains to 30,000 an hour at peak times. Dr Levy says, “It will change the look and feel of Auckland setting the city up for future growth.”

Auckland will grow by more than 700,000 people in the next 30 years and Dr Levy says the CRL, coupled with bus improvements and major investment in other infrastructure such as roads and highways, is the only way to keep Auckland moving. “The CRL is the bold game-changer Auckland has been waiting for.”

Mayor Len Brown says good things come to those who wait. “Auckland, we sure have waited, this project has been debated and tossed around for more than 90 years. It was first flagged in 1923 by the then Minister of Railways. Now we are finally pushing the “Go” button.”

Dr Levy says the CRL isn’t just about freeing-up central Auckland, it has transport benefits for large parts of Auckland, including road users. “Making public transport a better travel choice will ease pressure on roads for those who need to use them.”

During the past decade, rail patronage has increased from three million trips a year to 16 million but further growth of the rail system, including increases to train frequency, is constrained by its dead end at Britomart, this limits the entire network’s capacity. The CRL will join up the rail network, allowing trains to run both ways through Britomart doubling the number of trains.

Key Facts

  • The CRL will use twin 3.4 kilometre long tunnels up to 42 metres below the city streets. It is estimated to take five and a half years to build at a cost of $2.5 billion when inflated to 2024 costs
  • Two new underground stations at Aotea (11 metres deep) and Karangahape Rd (33 metres) and a re-developed Mount Eden Station
  • Cut and cover construction along Albert Street and at Eden Terrace
  • Most of the twin 3.4 kilometre long tunnels will be built with a tunnel boring machine
  • 7.5 metre diameter tunnel boring machine (about half the size of the one used at Waterview)
  • About one million cubic metres of spoil – more than Waterview because of station excavations
  • 88 subterranean properties affected by tunnels

Benefits to the Auckland economy

  • A successful Auckland is pivotal to New Zealand’s future economic development, with GDP per capita 30-50% higher than other parts of the country. Auckland provides about a third of New Zealand’s GDP
  • Improved accessibility, particularly to the city centre is the key to Auckland’s economic growth. By 2041, the city centre will account for 30% of the region’s GDP
  • Transport is critical to shape urban form and lead economic development. Cities with efficient transport systems are more productive than dispersed places. Significant economic gains can be made from transport investment that improves access for people into areas of high employment density
  • Cities form and people choose to work in them because they are more productive due to scale and proximity. The availability of a skilled and educated workforce attracts high value-added businesses
  • There are a number of economic benefits from businesses and a skilled workforce being close together in city centres. These agglomeration benefits drive higher productivity and wages, making successful city centres increasingly important to a country’s economy
  • Auckland is New Zealand’s commercial capital; home to more than 60% of the top 200 companies. Auckland accounts for over 34% of NZ jobs, most in the urban areas, while Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga combined, account for 13% of jobs
  • The city centre is the hub of Auckland’s economy with 1 in 6 employees working there and up to 16,000 employees per square km. City centre workers earn 27% more than the average for Auckland
  • Major construction projects, such as the CRL, usually create increased economic benefits by employing people and spending with local businesses

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Work on City Rail Link underway

2 June 2016

Construction of the City Rail Link is officially underway and will be a catalyst for many millions of dollars in development around Auckland’s CBD, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

“Today’s ground breaking event marks the official start of the long awaited CRL. With Auckland’s population predicted to grow by more than 700,000 people over the next 30 years, the CRL will play an important role in getting people in and out of the city with ease,” Mr Bridges says.

In January the Government agreed to work with Auckland Council to bring forward a joint business plan for the CRL and formalise our funding commitment from 2020, allowing construction to get underway.

Details of the project are now being resolved, including how project risks around costs, construction and operation are addressed.

“A formal funding commitment will bring construction forward and provide more investment certainty for large-scale projects in the CBD as well as opportunities for development around the new and improved stations at Aotea Square, Karangahape Road and Mount Eden,” Mr Bridges says.

The 3.4 kilometre underground train line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.

“With an estimated cost of around $2.5 billion the CRL will be one of New Zealand’s largest-ever infrastructure projects."

“It will double the capacity of Auckland’s rail network, provide two new stations in the central city and see travel times for commuters reduce significantly.”

Mr Bridges says the Government has a strong focus on meeting Auckland’s transport needs.

“The Government is investing over $1 billion each year in Auckland’s transport, delivering new and improved roading corridors, strengthening public transport services and accelerating the urban cycling network."

“The Government has also completed a $1.7 billion upgrade of the Auckland metro rail network and trains, which has enabled the roll out of frequent, reliable services.”

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City Rail Link construction information days

10 March 2016

Aucklanders interested in the City Rail Link (CRL) construction will get an opportunity next week to find out what it means for the city centre.

AT will run information days at the AT Metro Lounge, by No.1 Café in Queen Elizabeth Square from 10am to 4pm daily, Thursday 17 - Saturday 19 March.

The CRL initial construction will become more visible in May when cut and cover trenching for the tunnels starts at the intersection of Albert and Customs Streets, and up Albert Street to Wyndham St.

The construction will require significant changes to Albert Street and the Britomart area with buses currently using Albert Street, Lower Queen Street, Tyler Street and Galway Street being relocated to other roads in the City Centre on 17th April.

To enable these changes a number of measures will be implemented, including relocation of parking, taxi stands and loading zones as well as new bus lanes and bus stops.

The utilities work is already slowing traffic flows on Victoria West Street where moving underground utilities is underway prior to the stormwater pipe relocation.

AT is asking commuters to reduce their car trips into the city by considering carpooling, catching the train, bus or ferry, walking or cycling.

CRL staff will be able to answer questions regarding the planned CRL construction and provide information on the upcoming changes to bus locations.

Auckland’s population is expected to grow by 700,000 in the next 30 years with the CRL to play a vital role towards meeting the city’s transport needs by 2040.

It will reduce the time and increase the frequency of most trips with more connections between rail, ferry and bus services.

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Government to move forward on City Rail Link

27 January 2016

The Government will work with Auckland Council to bring forward the start date of the City Rail Link (CRL), Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced today.

The Government is also working to formalise its funding commitment from 2020, which the Council has indicated would allow construction of the main works to start in 2018, at least two years sooner than currently envisaged.

Today’s announcement has been driven by strong growth in rail patronage and the need to provide investment certainty for large-scale developments in the CBD.

“The Government has agreed to work with Auckland Council to bring forward the business plan and formalise our funding commitment from 2020, providing the joint business plan with the Council appropriately addresses project risks around costs, construction and operation,” Mr Joyce says.

“It would also provide more certainty for large-scale projects like the $350 million NDG Auckland Centre at the corner of Elliot and Victoria Streets, and the $680 million Commercial Bay tower, which will replace the Downtown Centre,” Mr Joyce says.

The 3.4 kilometre underground train line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.

“With an estimated cost of around $2.5 billion the CRL will be one of New Zealand’s largest-ever transport projects,” Mr Bridges says.

“It will double the capacity of Auckland’s rail network, provide two new stations in the central city and benefit commuters whose travel times will be reduced significantly. For example, Auckland Transport estimates that a commuter travelling between Henderson and the planned Aotea Station will save on average 17 minutes per trip,” Mr Bridges says.

Mr Joyce says a number of important and quite complex issues are still to be worked through.

“They include how project costs will be finally shared between the Government and the Council, and how the CRL will be owned and managed."

“Providing these issues are resolved, we’ll aim to finalise the business plan later this year."

“I am confident we will be able to complete the business plan and funding commitment this year,” Mr Joyce says.


City Rail Link Starts

21 December 2015

Preliminary work for Auckland’s largest infrastructure project, the City Rail Link (CRL) started today with a dawn blessing of the work site by Manawhenua.

About 80 people gathered in the still of the morning on the corner of Victoria and Albert Streets in the central city as kaumatua blessed the worksite between Swanson and Wellesley Streets where the first part of the $2.5billion project has begun.

CRL project director Chris Meale says the start of work was a great milestone for AT and the project team.

“Today was a celebration, but for most Aucklanders, the first piece of work will be largely invisible. A replacement stormwater pipe will be built under Albert Street so that the existing one can be removed when work on the CRL tunnels starts in the middle of next year.”

Those gathered, including Mayor Len Brown, acknowledged that it was a day that Aucklanders have been contemplating for almost a century.

“In 1923 Railways Minister Gordon Coates gave his support for a city-to-Morningside underground rail line that never happened. In the 1970s, Mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson's rapid-rail proposal met a similar fate,” says the mayor.

“Today’s blessing means that in the coming months, Aucklanders will see the CRL starting to take shape”.

Mr Meale says when the works started in earnest midway through next year, people would have to think about how they travel to and through the city.

“Public transport or active modes will be wisest but for those who don’t have that option, using parking buildings closest to city entry points will be sensible rather than driving through the city”, says Mr Meale.

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City Rail Link to be built under Commercial Bay

11 December 2015

Mayor Len Brown has congratulated Auckland Transport and Precinct Properties Ltd for concluding negotiations that will see the first stage of the City Rail Link (CRL) constructed as part of Precinct’s Commercial Bay development.

Commercial Bay will be built on the site of the Downtown mall which straddles Lower Queen Street and Albert Street.

With the re-situating of stormwater pipes on Lower Albert this month and the demolition of the Downtown Mall in May 2016, Aucklanders will now see the first tangible steps in the construction of the CRL.

The Mayor said discussions with the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Minister of Transport were going well, with the Government committed to the CRL project. “The only remaining issue is the timing of government funding.”

The 39-storey, $681 million Commercial Bay development will make an outstanding contribution to what people are calling “the new Auckland”. It is one of several major new developments that will arrive in Auckland's City Centre in the next few years.

“The private sector is demonstrating its confidence in Auckland's future by investing billions in our City Centre. Central Auckland is New Zealand's most productive, largest and fastest growing commercial and employment centre. It has long been said Auckland is the powerhouse of the New Zealand economy. That is now a reality."

“Growth is the reason we are backing private sector investment with better public transport. We simply cannot meet that growth by moving more people into the CBD by car. The CRL will more than double the number of people we can bring in by our new electric trains. These are exciting times.”

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City Rail Link Appeals over

26 August 2015

The City Rail Link (CRL) has reached a major milestone with all appeals to its land designation now resolved by agreement or dismissed.

Auckland Transport’s chief executive David Warburton says five of the six appeals were settled and the only appeal that went to the Environment Court has been dismissed.

The designation is now confirmed subject to finalisation of conditions by the Court.

“It’s a big step forward for Auckland. A proposal to extend rail through the city centre has been around for almost a hundred years but has never got much beyond an idea. Now we have a designated route,” says Dr Warburton.

“Early works start in November this year. While there are still some other planning processes to work through in relation to regional consents and Britomart, we anticipate a start on the cut and cover in Albert Street in May next year.”

The CRL is critical to Auckland, being a major economic development catalyst as well as a significant transport investment that will help shape and grow our city” said Dr Warburton.

“Already there is something like 170,000 m2 of proposed or consented development on or adjacent to the CRL route on Albert Street.”

The Court’s decision ends a two and a half year planning process to get the designation for the project.

The now confirmed designation identifies land in the district plan for rail purposes and protects the route for the future.

Auckland Council decided today to bring forward spending on the City Rail Link (CRL).

Money previously earmarked for the 2012-2013 CRL budget will now be spent in the current financial year. It will come from public transport and travel demand management projects that cannot be progressed in the 2011-12 year due to external factors such as delays in securing necessary resource consents.

“This is money that council had planned to spend anyway on the CRL in the following financial year. It is being brought forward to assist in achieving important project milestones, such as making surveys of the land likely to be used in the project,” said the chair of the Strategy and Finance Committee. Councillor Penny Webster says it will have no impact on the overall cost of the project.”

$6.3 million will be spent on work including geotechnical surveys, utility and building assessments, contaminated site reports and rail operations modelling.

$1.7m will go towards providing the Government with a revised business case, requested by the government.

The CRL, a project managed by Auckland Transport, will be a new 3.5-kilometre underground electrified rail line allowing Britomart to become a through station and providing up to three new stations near Aotea Centre, Karangahape Road and Newton.

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Mayor hails historic City Rail Link development

25 February 2015

An agreement between Auckland Council and Precinct Properties announced this morning will enable the construction of the City Rail Link (CRL) to get underway through the company’s Downtown Development project at the bottom of Queen Street.

Mayor Len Brown is heralding the milestone as an historic moment for Auckland: “This is the first step towards the construction of the CRL. It will lead to an exciting transformation of the public spaces around the Britomart train station area. And it’s an example of how a partnership with the private sector can deliver economic transformation and more jobs in Auckland.”

The alignment of the CRL requires new rail tunnels to be constructed through the site presently occupied by the Downtown Shopping Centre, which is owned by Precinct Properties along with two adjacent commercial office towers, HSBC Tower at 1 Queen Street and Zurich House at 21 Queen Street.

The deal between the two parties enables the rail tunnels to be built as part of the Downtown Development Project.

Elements include:

  • The sale to Precinct of Queen Elizabeth Square for $27.2 million
  • Payment to Precinct of $9 million for provision of an East-West pedestrian laneway between Queen Street and Albert Street and compensation for tunnels volume
  • Payment of $10.7 million for additional costs of office tower construction due to CRL tunnels
  • Creation of a new downtown civic space between the project and Britomart

The sale of Queen Elizabeth Square was approved by Auckland Council’s Development Committee on 11 September 2014 after a report to council by staff pointed out the proceeds of this under utilised and poorly performing city space would enable the creation of new public spaces that better meet the needs of the area.

Len Brown says: “The agreement demonstrates the council’s positive business-friendly approach to city centre development while securing a great result for the ratepayer as it means cost savings for both parties.

“It ensures a coordinated approach to the construction work - with Auckland Transport building the CRL tunnels either side of the Precinct downtown shopping centre site from Britomart to Wyndham Street and Precinct Properties building the tunnels below its site."

“The Downtown Development Project will help create jobs giving the potential for 12,000 more people to be working close to public transport at Britomart."

“It is also the key to a number of projects that will kick-off the creation of a world-class downtown area including improvements to public space, transport facilities and urban design.”

Those improvements include:

  • The replacement of an aging 40 year old shopping centre with the Downtown Development Project enhancing retail in the area with a three-level retail laneway development while the commercial office tower will deliver much-needed office space
  • The creation of a pedestrian laneway, which re-instates a north-south link from Customs Street to Quay Street once existing as Little Queen Street. This link was lost during the large-scale demolition in the area in the 1970s
  • Moving towards the establishment of a Lower Albert Street bus interchange which would enable a pedestrianised civic space to be created in front of Britomart presently existing as a road occupied by buses
  • The protection of key views to important adjacent heritage buildings including the ferry building, Customhouse and the Dilworth building

The Mayor says: “Aucklanders have made it clear the CRL is their number one transport priority and this brings us closer to enabling a start to construction in about a year’s time.”

Construction of the Downtown section of the CRL is due to begin mid-year with completion by 2019. Tenders are due to go out later this year.

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City Rail Link open days

22 August 2014

People interested in the latest news about the City Rail Link (CRL) are welcome at any of three open days being held in the project area over the next week.

The CRL is Auckland’s top transport priority with significant economic development opportunities. It is a 3.4km underground rail connection between Britomart and Mt Eden Station that will double the capacity of the Auckland rail network.

Project director Chris Meale says the open days are a great opportunity for people to meet with CRL staff and discuss recent progress and the upcoming activities planned for the project.

“We’ll have members of the CRL team at each open day who can discuss a range of subjects from engineering to urban design, hydrology to property.”

Information on the regional environmental consents required for issues such as land disturbance, earthworks, ground water take and storm water discharges will be provided at the open days.

Mr Meale says he expects people to be particularly interested in the recent design change incorporating redevelopment of Mt Eden Station rather than building a new Newton Station.

The open days are being held adjacent to the three station locations on both weekdays and a weekend from 27 August to 1 September.

They are:

  • Wednesday 27 August at the Pitt Street Methodist Church from 4pm to 7pm
  • Saturday 30 August at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre on New North Road from 10am to 2pm
  • Monday 1 September at the Town Hall Council Chambers from 4pm to 6pm

“The team is looking forward to meeting people interested in the CRL and discussing the project with them. I hope people take the opportunity to come along.”

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Mayor announces 20 percent cut in cost of City Rail Link

1 August 2014

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has announced a significant reduction in the cost of the City Rail Link (CRL) from $2.86 billion to less than $2.4 billion lowering the price of Auckland's number one transport infrastructure priority by about 20 per cent.

A significant part of that cost reduction is an Auckland Transport (AT) decision to redevelop the existing Mt Eden Station and connect it to the CRL rather than build a new underground station at Newton.

That design change will save more than $150 million, improve the reliability and journey time of train services, minimise construction disruption and reduce property purchase requirements.

The other significant saving is a decision that additional electric trains will not be required as part of the core CRL project, saving more than $330 million.

Len Brown says the ongoing review of the design and costs for the project shows we can get the CRL operational using the existing fleet. It is expected new units will be required for the CRL’s future developments, as the network expands.

“This is an exciting development and makes a 2016 start date for the construction of the CRL even more realistic, especially at a time when more and more people are choosing to get out of their cars and travel by rail*,” says Mayor Brown.

“Aucklanders are behind this, the business and investment community are behind this, we just need to get on and get it done.”

Mayor Brown said he expects more good news on the cost of the project to come as optimisation, value engineering and advances in tunnelling technology are taken into account.

*The year to June 2014 saw a 13.9% increase in Auckland rail patronage, to 11.4 million trips.

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Design Progress for the City Rail Link

10 July 2014

Design of the Britomart end of the City Rail Link is being progressed with Auckland Transport asking the construction industry to register its interest in the work.

The focus of the design work will be on the downtown section of the City Rail Link, from Britomart through Queen, Customs and Albert Streets to Wyndham Street.

It is the area that most affects other planned and proposed inner city development by Auckland Council and private developers.

“It’s a sensible next step to get design certainty for the part of the CRL that will most affect everyone else’s plans in the city. It is also important to have the design advanced so any consents can be identified and applied for,” says AT Chief Executive David Warburton.

Auckland Council Chief Executive Stephen Town says "this next step is important as it will ensure the sequencing of city centre improvements is well planned over the next 3 years."

Auckland Transport wants to be in a position to progress work in the downtown area so other city development can proceed without unnecessary delay, once CRL construction funding is approved.

Dr Warburton says engaging early with the construction industry in this way is routine on major projects to ensure a cost effective design that minimises adverse effects.

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City Rail Link Recommended for Approval

5 March 2014

Auckland Transport has today welcomed a unanimous recommendation by independent planning commissioners that the land required to build, operate and maintain the City Rail Link (CRL) be set aside for the project.

The five commissioners, who heard AT’s planning application for the CRL, have recommended that the designation for the land be confirmed, subject to conditions that address issues raised by submitters.

The commissioners say they accepted the CRL would result in significant overall benefits to the people and economy of Auckland. “There was no evidence to challenge the benefits of the project and most submitters in opposition accepted the merits of the project.”

AT Chief Executive, David Warburton, says the recommendation and related conditions would now be considered by Auckland Transport. AT has 30 working days to confirm, amend or withdraw the notices.

The commissioners’ recommendation has come after more than two weeks of a hearing in August and November last year during which more than 260 submissions were considered and a number of submitters presented further evidence.

There was overwhelming support for the CRL and many of those who submitted in opposition to ensure their particular interests were addressed, also voiced their support for the project.

David Warburton says when a decision is made, all affected landowners and submitters will be informed of the result. Submitters will have 15 working days to appeal the decision to the Environment Court.

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Downtown agreement next step on City Rail Link

8 July 2013

The Mayor is describing an agreement with Precinct Properties regarding the Downtown Shopping Centre as an exciting next step in the progress of Auckland’s City Rail Link.

The council has agreed to negotiate with Precinct to coordinate timing of future development plans for the shopping centre with the construction of the part of the City Rail Link that needs to pass below the complex.

“After last week’s exciting news from government about funding, this is another great step for the City Rail Link,” says Len Brown.

“Today we celebrate 10 years since the first train service at Britomart and here we are a decade later agreeing to negotiate a kick start for the next exciting phase of our city’s rail future."

“The City Rail Link will be a catalyst for urban redevelopment throughout the city centre and this is a good example of that. The council will continue to work with key commercial and property interests to achieve growth and development for our city."

The shopping centre sits on land required to build and operate the City Rail Link. Two rail lines will punch out of Britomart and be built below QEII Square and Downtown before curving under Albert Street as they head south to connect with the existing rail line at Mt Eden.

Auckland Council Property Ltd (ACPL) chief executive David Rankin says co-ordination to advance the CRL at the same time as Precinct begins redevelopment would be a constructive outcome for the city.

“While there are many issues to work through, the parties will give it their best shot to ensure a win/win deal is put together to secure the tunnel route for the City Rail Link while enabling a new retail and office development to be built."

“I look forward to the redevelopment of Downtown given the importance of strengthening retailing and providing quality office space for the growing number of businesses choosing to locate in the city centre.”

Precinct is the largest owner of premium inner-city office buildings in Auckland and Wellington.

Chief Executive Scott Pritchard says Precinct has had a strategy of focussing on the city’s harbour front area for some time.

“Precinct has been a long-standing supporter of the CRL and the council’s City Centre Masterplan."

“We welcome the chance to work together with the council in advancing their vision for the CRL and ours for the future of this location, which we see as offering a unique opportunity to create a special area in the heart of the city.”

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PM signals next generation of Auckland transport projects

28 June 2013

Prime Minister John Key today outlined the Government’s plan to kick-start the next generation of major Auckland transport projects, including the City Rail Link, and to accelerate a trio of State Highway projects.

Speaking at an Auckland Chamber of Commerce event today, Mr Key said the Government is backing Auckland to succeed by advancing crucial transport infrastructure projects.

“There is a next generation of major projects that is going to be required to develop and improve transport in Auckland for the benefit of the city and the country,” says Mr Key.

These are the combined Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) and East-West Link, the second Waitemata Harbour crossing, and the City Rail Link.

“These three projects are all identified as the highest transport priorities in the Council’s Auckland Plan,” says Mr Key. “They have a price tag of around $10 billion and they are projects that need to be planned for over a long period of time.”

On the City Rail Link, Mr Key says that as he indicated earlier this week, the Government is committing to a joint business plan for the City Rail Link with Auckland Council in 2017 and providing its share of funding for a construction start in 2020.

“We will consider an earlier start date if it becomes clear that Auckland’s CBD employment and rail patronage growth hit thresholds faster than current rates of growth suggest."

“I realise 2020 is not what the Council leadership is wanting, but while we may differ on timeframes, there is clear recognition by the Government that the project will be needed to address access to the Auckland CBD and improve the efficiency of rail,” says Mr Key.

On the second Waitemata Harbour Crossing, Mr Key says the New Zealand Transport Agency is moving to confirm the preferred alignment and protect the anticipated route by December this year.

“The Government agrees with the Auckland Council that the next crossing should be a tunnel,” says Mr Key. “A new harbour crossing is likely to be needed between 2025 and 2030.”

Mr Key says the Government wants to speed up the combined Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) and East-West Link project, and Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee would be getting advice on which elements can be accelerated and how funding can best be targeted.

“The area between Onehunga, Mt Wellington and East Tamaki is home to a number of industrial and logistics businesses that make a critical contribution to the Auckland and national economy."

“Many people are employed in the area and there’s considerable growth potential, but the transport links in and out are not up to the job,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key also signalled the Government intends to accelerate three other projects on the State Highway network in the Auckland region to address congestion, capitalise on the benefits of the Western Ring Route and improve access to the airport.

These projects are to complete a motorway-to-motorway link between the Upper Harbour Highway and the Northern Motorway at Constellation Drive, widen the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Papakura, and upgrade State Highway 20A link to the airport to motorway standard.

Under current funding assumptions, a start to construction on these projects may be up to 10 years away, but Mr Key says the Government is not prepared to wait that long.

“The NZ Transport Agency has been asked for advice on how to bring forward the construction start dates for these projects. The Government will be providing additional funding to enable this to happen,” says Mr Key.

“The Government’s direction on transport in Auckland is clear – we want to accelerate vitally-needed projects and get on with the job.”


Len Brown welcomes government support for City Rail Link

28 June 2013

Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the government’s agreement to fund the City Rail Link represents a major step forward for Auckland.

“I am delighted the government has agreed to support this project,” Len Brown said.

“The government has now given us a huge challenge to respond to. Along with the electrification of rail, the CRL will be the biggest advance in Auckland transport since the Harbour Bridge."

“Building the CRL is my number one priority as Mayor. It will be a vital piece of infrastructure for Auckland’s economy, and will enable us to better meet the challenges of a growing city."

“The CRL will double the capacity of the existing rail network and slash travel times."

“Much of the preparatory work is already underway, including protecting and preparing the route, electrification of the rail network and the purchase of new electric trains."

“We now need to focus on working closely with the government to agree the exact timing and to keep the project moving forward at pace."

“Removing the cul-de-sac at Britomart will enable our city’s rail network to move at least twice as many passengers as we do now. Travel times from the West and the South will be slashed by up to half an hour."

“The economic benefits should not be understated. We expect the working population of Auckland’s city centre to double by 2041. This will lead to gains in productivity that will more than double the city centre’s economy."

“In this context, being able to move people into and around the city more easily is critical to recognizing our economic potential. And it’s critical to our ability to remain internationally competitive for jobs and investment.”

“I want to acknowledge Aucklanders for being very clear in their support for this project.”

The City Rail Link will allow trains to pass through Britomart without having to reverse out as they currently do now. The route will pass through three downtown stations – Aotea, Karangahape and Newton, making its way through Albert Street, across Karangahape Rd to upper Symonds Street linking to the Western line and the Southern line.

In addition to the CRL, Auckland has largely completed the electrification of the rail network and will begin the introduction of 57 new Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains later this year.

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City Rail Link Open for Public Comment

25 January 2013

Another important step is being taken towards building the City Rail Link (CRL), an application to designate land to build and operate the CRL is now open for public comment.

Auckland Transport has served Notices of Requirement on Auckland Council to have the land, required to build and operate the CRL, identified in the District Plan. Submissions on this are open until March 19.

The City Rail Link is a 3.4km rail line from Britomart to Mount Eden which is predominantly underground.

CRL Project Director Claire Stewart says: “Eliminating the constraint posed by a dead end at Britomart will unlock the potential of the entire rail network and enable Aucklanders to have more trains, more often to more places.”

With three new city centre stations the CRL will double the number of people within 30 minutes travel time of the city and will shorten travel times across the entire rail network.

A recent study shows that without the CRL, Auckland’s existing public transport services will be at over capacity within a decade and city traffic will slow to walking speed.

Information relating to the six notices of requirement for the CRL and the submission form are available at http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/districtregionalplans

The usual 20 day period for submissions had been extended to 35 working days. Independent commissioners will consider the Notices of Requirement and anyone who makes a submission can choose to be heard.

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City Rail Link Route Identified

3 July 2012

Auckland Transport has identified a route through the city centre for the City Rail Link (CRL) the next step in passenger rail development for Auckland, and is now making contact with directly affected landowners prior to seeking planning protection for the route.

The CRL will extend the existing rail line underground through Britomart, under Albert, Vincent and Pitt Streets, then beneath Karangahape Road and the Central Motorway Junction to Symonds Street before rising to join the western line near Eden Terrace.

Mayor Len Brown says the route identification is the next big step towards the completion of one of the most important public transport projects in the recent history of Auckland.

“The CRL won’t just provide a convenient train line below the city centre. It will unleash the potential of the entire suburban rail network, increasing frequency, reliability, and speed of trains across all of Auckland,” says mayor Len Brown.

Auckland Transport’s chief executive David Warburton said the CRL will provide for three additional city centre stations in the vicinity of the Aotea Centre, Karangahape Road and Newton and an interchange adjacent to New North Road.

“Our priority is to let property owners directly affected by the City Rail Link know about the route first and then we’ll engage with wider interests.”

The CRL will require the future purchase of surface property from 210 owners Underground portions of land from 70 interests including 12 unit title developments with multiple owners will also need to be purchased for the tunnels and stations.

“Our focus is on protecting a route for the CRL. We first want to work with landowners to help ensure they are well informed and to help us understand their issues. Property purchase is a second step.”

“We are aware that property owners adjacent to the CRL will want to know more about future construction impacts such as noise, vibration and access. We will explain these over the next few months and address them at a greater level of detail in future design and resource consent processes.” he said.

Britomart will become a through station as was originally envisaged when it was built, allowing faster, more frequent and more reliable services across the whole Auckland passenger rail network.

“Improved accessibility is a key to Auckland’s economic growth and that of New Zealand. The CRL will future-proof transport demands for an Auckland that will be home to two thirds of New Zealand’s growth over the next three decades.”

The CRL builds on previous public transport investment including Britomart, double tracking and electric trains. It will provide more trains more often, with faster more reliable and direct services, to more destinations.

He says both Auckland Council and central government agree it makes strategic sense to protect the route now.

The CRL will be built in two 3.5km long, twin tunnels up to 45 metres below the city. As much as possible, the project will be built below city streets to reduce the effects on property owners and city heritage buildings.

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Progress on City Rail Link welcomed

8 March 2012

The Mayor has welcomed news that work on the City Rail Link (CRL) is progressing.

Auckland Council’s Strategy & Finance committee has brought forward money from the 2012-2013 CRL budget, which will now be spent in the current financial year in order to continue progress protecting the eventual route.

“The City Rail Link is a key project that will allow more trains to travel through Britomart, increasing the number and frequency of trips across the whole rail network,” says Len Brown.

“Aucklanders have waited long enough for better public transport This council is determined to get on with it.”

“With the CRL, a journey from New Lynn to the Aotea Station will take less than half the time and from Manukau to Karangahape Road, the journey will be a third faster than now."

Auckland Council and the government have agreed on the strategic case for protecting the route of the rail link and this year’s spending will have no impact on the overall cost of the project.

$6.3 million will be spent on work including geotechnical surveys, utility and building assessments, contaminated site reports and rail operations modelling.

$1.7m will go towards meeting the Government’s requirement that additional work be undertaken on CBD growth projections and access issues.

“We cannot leave fixing Auckland’s public transport system to our kids,” says the Mayor.

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Auckland: City Rail Link work accelerated

8 March 2012

Auckland Council decided today to bring forward spending on the City Rail Link (CRL).

Money previously earmarked for the 2012-2013 CRL budget will now be spent in the current financial year. It will come from public transport and travel demand management projects that cannot be progressed in the 2011-12 year due to external factors such as delays in securing necessary resource consents.

“This is money that council had planned to spend anyway on the CRL in the following financial year. It is being brought forward to assist in achieving important project milestones, such as making surveys of the land likely to be used in the project,” said the chair of the Strategy and Finance Committee. Councillor Penny Webster says it will have no impact on the overall cost of the project.”

$6.3 million will be spent on work including geotechnical surveys, utility and building assessments, contaminated site reports and rail operations modelling.

$1.7m will go towards providing the Government with a revised business case, requested by the government.

The CRL, a project managed by Auckland Transport, will be a new 3.5-kilometre underground electrified rail line allowing Britomart to become a through station and providing up to three new stations near Aotea Centre, Karangahape Road and Newton.

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Auckland Rail Link on track after business case review

31 May 2011

The Mayor has announced the next steps in the construction of the Auckland Rail Link after an independent review of the business case for the project by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport concluded it would have transformative benefits to the region.

The review has been carried out in conjunction with a number of independent internationally recognised consultants and finds that the project would deliver overall benefits exceeding overall costs with the benefit cost ratio ranging from 1.1 to 2.3 (including wider economic benefits).

Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and our independent advisors are strongly of the view that the overall evaluation numbers are sufficiently robust to justify the immediate commencement of the designation process for the route.

The process needs to commence as soon as possible to minimise the potential for any cost increases or project delays.

In addition to progressing the designations, the Auckland Council needs to immediately commence the process to secure and protect the route of the Rail Link. This work is being funded in the 2011/2012 Annual Plan.

The Mayor says he will be proposing funding to commence the acquisition of properties necessary to make this project a reality in the draft Long Term Plan.

"The need for the tunnel is now urgent," says Len Brown "Within two years most of the useable train paths in and out of Britomart will be in use, providing virtually no room to add future services at a time when public transport patronage is going through the roof."

"The rail tunnel will unlock unused capacity across the whole rail network," says Len Brown. "It will double the number of trains that can go through Britomart, let Aucklanders and freight more move around the region more easily, and reduce congestion on our roads."

The rail tunnel would include three stations at key locations to ensure most of the inner city is no further than 500 metres from any station and would mean more and faster services out to west and south Auckland.

"The potential urban redevelopment and additional growth derived from investment in this infrastructure would make the project transformational not just for Auckland, but for New Zealand as a whole."

The review was prepared with the assistance of the following international experts:

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • John Bolland Consulting
  • M.E Market Economics
  • Beca
  • GHD
  • Ascari
  • AECOM
  • UC Berkeley Transportation Centre

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Mayor welcomes rail link review

21 December 2010

The Mayor has welcomed the Government's announcement that it will review the business case for the Auckland CBD Rail Link.

Transport Minister Stephen Joyce has asked officials from the Ministry of Transport, the Treasury and the NZ Transport Agency to work with Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and other agencies to review the business case.

Len Brown says the review is another important step on the path towards the construction of the rail link.

“Auckland Council is committed to work collaboratively with the Government on this review.”

"This project is a vital piece of infrastructure not only for Auckland but for the country as a whole," says Len Brown.

"As the business case put it, the Auckland CBD rail link is perhaps the most critical element in Auckland's transformation into a globally competitive urban centre."

“However it can only be built in partnership with the Government and this review is just another example of that partnership.”

As indicated in the Minister's statement, the review will be followed by further discussions in the New Year.

"I look to discussing the best way forward for the project with Mr Joyce at that time," Len Brown says.

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Mayor releases compelling business case for rail loop

24 November 2010

The Mayor today released a business case for the underground CBD rail link that highlights major economic and transport benefits for Auckland.

The independently prepared business case investigates the economic viability of a tunnel that would improve rail links into the city. It would include three stations at key locations to ensure most of the central business district is no further than 500 metres from any CBD station.

A variety of alternatives were considered as part of the business case, including improving bus capacity, an expanded Britomart rail station, and a central city bus tunnel with three stations.

“The report ranks the rail link highest for cost effectiveness and impact because of the way it would unlock unused capacity across the whole rail network,” says Len Brown. “The link would double the number of trains that can go through Britomart, let Aucklanders get around the region more easily, and reduce congestion on our roads. The report can’t be ignored.”

“The potential urban redevelopment and additional growth derived from investment in this infrastructure would make the project transformational not just for Auckland, but for New Zealand as a whole.”

The report suggests there is a strong case for proceeding with three stages of the project immediately.

Those stages are protecting the route; the funding of the protection process; and further investigation of funding the tunnel itself.

Within two years, the report also highlights, most of the useable train paths in and out of Britomart will be in use, providing virtually no room to add future services.

This comes as road congestion intensifies and Auckland’s population continues to grow.

Without the link, the CBD would require twin or triple bus lanes in both directions on most road corridors, says the report.

“The rail link is quite possibly the most critical element in Auckland’s transformation into a globally competitive urban centre, and this report confirms that,” says Len Brown.

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Auckland City considers urban rail link

8 December 2003

The construction of an underground rail link extending from Britomart to the Civic, Pitt Street and the Western Line has been given serious consideration by Auckland City Council’s Transport Committee.

Investigation show the underground link would provide more direct connections for passengers travelling to and from both Waitakere and Manukau cities, and how it could incorporate links to the North Shore in the future.

The committee received the results of a feasibility study and preliminary cost assessment for the link that would turn Britomart into a through station rather than a terminating point for rail journeys.

The study was commissioned in July this year and followed on from a previous investigation that found the option was technically viable. The study found it would be possible to extend Auckland’s existing rail network westwards from Britomart with an underground tunnel, which would connect with the Western Line near Mt Eden Station.

The link would enable through train services to operate across the region and allow for the possible creation of an inner-city rail loop with the addition of three stations in the central area – bringing most of the Central Business District (CBD) within a short walk of a station. The study also recommended a preferred route for the connection, should it go ahead; via Albert Street, Mayoral Drive, Vincent Street, Pitt Street, under the central motorway junction to Exmouth Street and the Western Line. This would also leave open the future possibility of connecting the CBD with the North Shore, via a rail tunnel under the Waitemata Harbour.

Following presentation of the report, the committee resolved to forward the work done so far to the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) to be considered in the next Regional Land Transport Strategy review.

Construction costs for the project are estimated to be in the region of $500 million (plus or minus 30 per cent) although the report adds that construction of the tunnel could save over $100 million upgrading the rail network elsewhere.

A high level economic evaluation carried out in conjunction with the study indicated that the project could be justified in the medium term. A project steering group representing Auckland City Council Rapid Transport and Transport Planning Groups, Auckland Regional Transport Network Limited (ARTNL) and the ARC oversaw the project.

“An underground link is constructible and has economic and transport benefits,” said Councillor Greg McKeown, Transport Committee chairperson, “but needs to be considered alongside other projects for the future. Turning Britomart into a through station would increase its capacity and optimise the city’s investment in it, and the region’s investment in rail rapid transit. It would also vastly increase Aucklanders’ access to key locations in the Central Business District (CBD). The prospect of achieving the Rail Business Plan patronage targets (25 million passengers in 10 years) would be greatly enhanced and the developmental benefits for Auckland City could be very considerable. We are recommending that it be considered by the region when the Regional Land Transport Strategy is next updated."

“Britomart has been built at a depth that allows for this underground option. An underground option provides for a high-speed, high capacity rail link through the CBD which does not get caught up with the cars, buses, commercial traffic and pedestrians at street level,” said Mr McKeown. “It is a viable option for the future that needs to be on the table for discussion today. Meantime, we are also moving ahead with bus priority and ferry terminal improvements through the CBD in the shorter term.”

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