Here are the big milestones between 2008 and 2017:
One year on
12 December 2016
CRL project Director Chris Meale reported on CRL construction one year on.
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 said impressive statistics are being achieved for New Zealand’s biggest infrastructure project.
- All contractors have completed a combined total of 273,000 hours of work. This equates to one person working 136 years
- 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 condition
- 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.
Piling work starting on Albert Street
11 November 2016
Gomer, the 9-storey-high piling rig (affectionately named after comical 1960s TV character, Gomer Pyle), has made good progress at the Albert and Customs Street intersection and is now starting his way up Albert Street.
Due to the busy central city location of the works, the worksite is complex. Gomer’s 11m x 5.5m footprint means he takes up most of the width of the road when he turns around! With Fletcher Building’s demolition of the old Downtown Shopping Centre, Custom Street’s capacity has been squeezed for buses and all other traffic.
However, Gomer has already dug more than 17 piles of up to 20 metres in depth, which have been filled with reinforcing cages and concrete, and he will have completed 362 piles in total when he reaches his final destination, 20m past Wynyard Street.
Gomer’s good progress means we are on track to start digging the 350-metre cut and cover tunnels up Albert Street in the first quarter of 2017.
Signing of Heads of Agreement
14 September 2016
An historic milestone was reached today with Mayor Len Brown signing an agreement with Transport Minister Simon Bridges on funding for the City Rail Link.
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.
Watch the signing:
- 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.
Nine-storey piling giant comes to town
5 September 2016
One of the world’s biggest piling machines has landed in Auckland and will be moved in to position in lower Albert St this month.
The Soilmec SR 100 has been shipped to NZ from Italy and will be used to drill tunnel piles to about 20 metres deep, starting mid October.
When fully unfurled with attachments, the Soilmec SR 100 will be 5.5m wide and 11 metres long. The mast is about 29 metres high (9 storeys high).
Historic start of construction of CRL
2 June 2016
The Prime Minister John Key, Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Auckland Mayor Len Brown formally marked the historic start of the construction of the CRL at a ceremony at the Britomart Train Station.
Watch the CRL groundbreaking ceremony and speeches
The first contract documents for the entire City Rail Link (CRL) project from the city to Mt Eden also went out to the industry, marking another important milestone for the project.
QEII Square pedestrian underpass closure
29 March 2016
From today, the pedestrian underpass between Britomart Station and Queen Elizabeth II Square will be closed.
We are closing the underpass to prepare for the CRL early works.
The Government brings forward funding for the CRL
27 January 2016
The Government announced it will work with Auckland Council to bring forward the start date of the City Rail Link. The Government would also work 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.
It said the decision had been driven by strong growth in rail patronage and the need to provide investment capacity for large-scale developments in the CBD.
Mayor Len Brown, calling it excellent news, said: "I have long championed the City Rail Link project because it will be transformational not only to keep Auckland moving but also to boost the city's economic and social life. Its benefits will be felt across Auckland as well as building a great heart in the central city."
Dawn blessing marks start of work
21 December 2015
Preliminary work for the City Rail Link began with a dawn blessing of the work site.
CRL construction to be part of Precinct development
11 December 2015
A joint announcement by Auckland Council and property company Precinct announced that the first stage of the City Rail Link project would be built on the site of the Downtown Mall, between lower Queen Street and Albert Street. The construction will take place as part of the 'Commercial Bay' development by Precinct.
The 39-storey, $681 million Commercial Bay development is one of several major new developments that will come to the city centre in the next few years.
Appeals to land designation resolved
27 August 2015
The City Rail Link reached a major milestone with all appeals to its land designation having been resolved by agreement or dismissal. Five of the six appeals were settled and the only appeal that went to the Environmental Court has been dismissed.
Queen Elizabeth II Square road stopping
17 June 2015
AT proposes stopping Queen Elizabeth II Square as a legal road so that the Downtown Shopping Centre block can be redeveloped and construction can begin on the underground tunnels for the City Rail Link.
Depending on confirmation of the road stopping and an associated rezoning process, the land forming the existing square will be sold and combined with the Downtown Shopping Centre site. As part of the redevelopment arrangements, Auckland Council will secure a new east - west public pedestrian link across the area to connect lower Queen Street and Lower Albert Street. There will also be a north - south laneway through the Downtown Shopping Centre block (referencing the former Little Queen Street).
The proceeds from the sale of the square will be reinvested in alternative public spaces along the downtown waterfront.
Before the sale can begin, the road status of the square needs to uplifted, a legal public process AT is responsible for as the regulatory authority.
- AC has agreed to sell Queen Elizabeth II Square in a deal that provides better east-west and north-south pedestrian links in the area, sees the property owner building the CRL tunnels below its site as an integral part of the development and frees up funding for the improvement of other nearby public spaces
- AT is the regulatory authority responsible for the legal process, known as road stopping, required to remove Queen Elizabeth II Square’s status as a road so it can be sold
- Road stopping is a public process and is publicly notified. People have 40 days to make a submission to AT by Tuesday 28 July
- An independent commissioner will consider and hear submissions on the road stopping process and make a recommendation to AT. AT’s decision can be appealed to the Environment Court.
If you object to this proposal, you can lodge an objection in writing to Deborah Godinet, Group Manager Property and Planning, Auckland Transport, Private Bag 92250, Auckland 1142 before 4pm, Tuesday 28 July 2015.
CRL Showcase launched
15 May 2015
Aucklanders will have the opportunity to learn more about the City Rail Link when AT brings its CRL Showcase to town centres in west, east, south and north Auckland later this month.
The showcase is coming town centres in response to requests from many of those who attended the showcase in the City Centre in April, for it to be taken to smaller centres.
Construction consortia appointed
25 February 2015
The appointment of two construction consortia to commence the first phase of the CRL construction in the Downtown area was announced.
Auckland Transport appointed two Joint Venture contractors for the work: Downer NZ and Soletanche Bachy JV and Connectus (McConnell Dowell and Hawkins JV) for the first phase of the design at a cost of about $3 million. The next phase will provide for a negotiated contract to construct the City Rail Link.
The Downer-led joint venture would progress the CRL work through and under Britomart Station and Queen Street to the Downtown Shopping Centre site. The contract includes establishing temporary accommodation for Britomart Station's ticketing and customer service operations, underpinning the historic former Chief Post Office building, to allow the construction of rail tunnels beneath and reinstating Britomart Station and upgrading urban space and surrounding spaces.
The Connectus Consortium would construct the cut and cover tunnels under and along Albert Street from Customs Street to Wyndham Street. The work would start with the relocation of a major storm water line in Albert Street between Swanson and Wellesley Streets.
Digging set to start on City Rail Link
5 February 2015
Major roads in central Auckland will be dug up before the end of the year to make way for the CRL.
Resource consents for the first section of the rail tunnel were publicly notified today.
Crossing the Start Line
22 December 2014
Bright red lines have been painted on streets in Downtown Auckland and in QEII Square to mark the centre of each of the two tunnels to be built late next year in preparation for the CRL.
Aucklanders using public transport in the area will now be able to see exactly where the CRL tunnels will be, and areas which will be affected by construction works.
Change made to timing of CRL
9 December 2014
Auckland Council's Governing Body agreed to push out the timing for the start of the City Rail Link in its 10-year budget to 2019/19.
The council did have the CRL project commencing from 2015/16, based on an assumption government's funding contribution for the project would also start next year, five years earlier than the government had indicated.
The decision to amend the timing, which was agreed 14 votes to 6, came in response to discussions held with Audit NZ on the council's draft budget.
The council would still invest as planned $280 million to do enablement works in the first three years of the plan (2015-18) as well as spend $120 million for ongoing land acquisition. But construction is now scheduled to start three years later in 2018/19, assuming the government had agreed to start its funding at that stage. The CRL was now expected to be completed in 2023.
CRL open days popular
2 September 2014
About 200 people attended three City Rail Link open days in the past week at the Pitt Street Methodist Church, the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Eden Terrace and the Town Hall.
The open days provided information on the decision to replace Newton station with a redeveloped Mt Eden Station, an update on the Notice of Requirement process and introduced the regional consents process.
Using iPads, visitors were able to view the stations in three dimensions and see how they will fit into the surrounding landscape.
Common areas of interest were the station designs, the running plans for the trains once the CRL is complete and core samples from boreholes drilled along the route.
Cost down, benefits up from City Rail Link design change
1 August 2014
Auckland Transport (AT) has decided to redevelop the existing Mt Eden Station and connect it to the CRL rather than build a new underground station at Newton.
Since the CRL’s concept design was developed two years ago, there has been concerted effort to optimise the design and drive value for money. The on-going design improvement process included a comprehensive review of all project elements by an international “challenge team” of experts.
The improved design will connect passengers at Mt Eden Station to the CRL which previously bypassed them and improve operational reliability through the provision of a separated east-west junction so train lines won’t need to cross over each other.
- Improves reliability with grade separated junction
- Allows Mt Eden passengers to connect to CRL
- Saves time for 3000 passengers a day - 95 a day have longer journeys
- Deep lifts replaced by open to air platforms
- Provides better modal transfer
- Leverages development of construction site
- Better fit with wider development potential
- Reduces construction disruption on Symonds St by 12-18 months
- Reduces construction effects on some properties
- Six fewer surface properties required
- About a dozen fewer sub-surface properties required
- Reduces capital cost by $124 million
- Reduces operational expenditure.
Design change leads to cost savings
31 July 2014
Auckland Transport announced a significant design change to the City Rail Link which would save over $150 million, improve the reliability and journey time of train services, minimise construction disruption in Symonds Street and reduce property purchase requirements.
AT decided to redevelop the existing Mount Eden station and connect it to the City Rail Link rather than build a new underground station at Newton. AT chairman Lester Levy said the change would reduce cost by removing the very deep Newton station, which would also reduce construction disruption in upper Symonds Street by 12 to 18 months.
CRL design work progressed
10 July 2014
Auckland Transport is seeking Registrations of Interest for the final phase of design for the Britomart end of the City Rail Link (CRL).
- AT is engaging with the construction industry to finalise design on a discrete section of the CRL that most affects other proposed inner city development
- AT wants to enable other development in the city to proceed by having design advanced for the CRL enabling works when finance becomes available
- Finalising the design will also allow AT to establish management plans and seek the consents necessary for enabling works in advance of the works
- Engaging early with the industry will ensure a collaborative, cost effective design that has been tested for staging of constructability
- The CRL has not yet received a mandate from council to start construction and the final design will be taken forward only when this has occurred.
The contract includes Design Development and Consenting for the area between Britomart Station and Wyndham Street.
Registrations of Interest close on the 6th of August.
Design of the Britomart end of the City Rail Link was being progressed with Auckland Transport asking the construction industry to register its interest in the work. AT said the focus of the design would be on the downtown section of the City Rail Link, from Britomart through Queen, Customs and Albert Streets to Wyndham Street.
AT accepts commissioners' recommendations
14 April 2014
Auckland Transport accepted the recommendation by planning commissioners to confirm the land requirements for the CRL.
Auckland Transport's chief executive David Warburton said: "It's a big step forward for Auckland. A proposal to extend rail through the city centre has been on the books in some form or other for almost a hundred years but never got beyond an idea. At least we have a designated route."
Commissioners recommend CRL designation
5 March 2014
Independent planning commissioners announced unanimous recommendation that the land required to build, operate and maintain the City Rail Link be set aside for the project. The five commissioners, who heard AT's planning application for the CRL recommended that the designation for the land be confirmed, subject to conditions that address issues raised by submitters.
Mayor Len Brown noted the commissioners' agreement with business leaders, such as the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, that the transport and wider benefits of the project were largely undisputed. The Mayor said he was particularly encouraged by the commissioners' satisfaction that alternative sites, routes and construction methodologies for the project had been adequately considered.
New hearing date confirmed
24 October 2013
The hearing of notices of requirement to designate land to build, operate and maintain the City Rail Link has been adjourned until 10 - 11 November. The commissioners have adjourned to consider the material provided in the application.
Downtown agreement next step on City Rail Link
8 July 2013
Auckland Council agreed to negotiate with Precinct Properties to coordinate timing of future development plans for its Downtown shopping centre with the construction of the part of the City Rail Link that needs to pass below the complex.
Transport Minister writes to Mayor
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee wrote to Auckland Mayor Len Brown, confirming that “government has committed to a joint business case for the City Rail Link with Auckland Council in 2017, and to providing its share of funding for a construction start in 2020.”
The letter also raised matters relating to future governance, determining of funding shares and circumstances that could trigger an earlier business case:
- Auckland city centre employment increases by 25% over current levels
- Annual rail patronage is on track to hit 20 million trips well before 2020.
26 June 2013
Prime Minister John Key confirmed that the Government would back a city rail link in Auckland but delay the construction by five years. The Government wasn't ruling out funding coming from the future investment fund, which uses the proceeds from the partial sale of state-owned assets.
Open days popular
15 April 2013
Auckland Transport began holding three open days for anyone who would like to find out about the City Rail Link and to talk to the project staff.
20 March 2013
An application to designate land to build and operate the City Rail Link was open for public submission until 19 March 2013. Submissions have now closed.
Hearings are anticipated in the third quarter of 2013.
24 January 2013
Auckland Transport announced that an application to designate land to build and operate the CRL was open for public comment. Auckland Transport has served Notices of Requirement on Auckland Council to hand the land, required to build and operate the CRL, identified in the District Plan.
Study into future transport
13 December 2012
A study into the future transport needs of Auckland was released revealing a looming crisis as the city's population growth exceeds the ability of the transport network to cope. The City Centre Future Access Study (CCFAS) was commissioned by Auckland Transport and warned of significant delays and congestion on all routes into the city within the next 10 years.
The CCFAS identified the City Rail Link as essential. It says that bus-only investment will provide for short-term benefits but in some cases will be 'worse than doing nothing' for private vehicle travel times.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the study was "a useful addition to the debate on long-term transport management in central Auckland" but "fell some way short of convincing the Government it should provide financial support to any fast tracking of the proposed City Rail Link."
Information sessions for adjacent landowners held
15 - 20 September 2012
Prior to public notification, Auckland Transport held three information sessions for immediately adjacent land owners regarding potential CRL effects and how these will be managed.
Notice of Requirement lodged with Auckland Council
10 September 2012
Auckland Transport (AT) has identified a land footprint for the City Rail Link (CRL) and after talking to directly affected landowners and advising them on the project, Auckland Transport has initiated a formal planning process with a notice of requirement being lodged with Auckland Council.
Route identified for CRL
3 July 2012
Auckland Transport announced it had identified a route through the city centre for the City Rail Link and was making contact with directly affected landowners prior to seeking planning protection for the route.
Money approved to progress CRL
13 March 2012
Auckland Council's Strategy and Finance committee brought forward money from the 2012-2013 City Rail Link budget to the current financial year in order to continue progress protecting the eventual route.
$6.3 million was to be spent on work including geotechnical surveys, utility and building assessments, contaminated site reports and rail operations modelling. $1.7 million would go towards meeting the government's requirement that additional work be undertaken on CBD growth projections and access issues.
The City Centre Future Access Study
The City Centre Future Access Study was the agreed process across Auckland and government agencies to:
“Develop a robust and achievable multi-modal programme for transport into the Auckland City Centre, which considers a thorough analysis of alternatives and identifies the optimal mix of modes to meet demand. This should include consideration of the prioritisation and sequencing of projects”.
In February 2012, new Minister of Transport, Hon Gerry Brownlee, confirmed his comfort with the scope of the study and appreciated the close engagement of government officials whilst expressing some reservations as to the time-line.
The study reported in December 2012. It established that the CRL was the optimal “headline” project, and that additional surface bus improvements were required.
CCFAS was effectively an indicative business case in terms of the Better Business Case stages. Whilst it included economic appraisal, the BCRs were relative not absolutes.
Transport Minister requests further CRL Review
20 July 2011
The Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown, received a letter from the Minister of Transport, the Hon Steven Joyce, which requested a further CRL Review [to] include:
- “finalisation of the spatial plan and master plan including establishing achievable growth projections for the CBD
- demonstration of commitment to resolving current CBD access issues, for example by improving bus operations and addressing capacity issues
- evidence of rail patronage increases, particularly in the morning peak, residential intensification and CBD regeneration as a result of current investment
- beginning implementation of large scale residential developments along the rail corridors
- implementation of additional park and ride sites, and changes to bus feeder services."
A project team was formally established to progress the CRL on 1 November 2011. As set out above Phase 1 of the Programme includes progressing:
1. The designation process
2. Responding to the Minister’s Letter
Auckland Council moves on CRL
28 June 2011
The Governing Body of Auckland Council resolved:
- That the Council directs Auckland Transport to seek a designation for the City Rail Link
- That the Council confirms Auckland Transport’s financial responsibility for the Project, subject to Council funding being approved and available for any local share of the Project
- That the Council and Auckland Transport will prepare draft agreed terms for a Heads of Agreement between Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, which sets out the basis upon which Auckland Transport will have financial responsibility for the Project.
Government agrees to review business case
21 December 2010
Transport Minister Steven Joyce 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 for a City Rail Link (CRL).
Business case announced
24 November 2010
Auckland Mayor Len Brown released a business case for an underground rail link that highlighted 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 choices 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.
The Minister of Transport asked the Ministry of Transport, (MoT) and Treasury, in conjunction with the New Zealand Transport Agency (Transport Agency), to review the Initial Business Case (the Review).
The purpose of the Review was to formally assess the Initial Business Case and provide advice on the merits of the CRL as a transport and economic investment, and when the project might be required. The Review was also intended to assist in determining if, how and when to progress with the CRL. Management from AT and Council participated in the analysis undertaken for the Review, supported by APB&B and other advisors.
That Review was undertaken from December 2010 through to May 2011 with the report released on 31 May 2011. In the Review the MoT concluded that “there was a strategic case for lodging a notice of requirement and it would make good sense to proceed with it”.
At the same time AT, Council and their advisers undertook a review of the economic evaluation of the project, concluding that “taking into account the wider transport policy initiatives which are planned, the City Rail Link would deliver overall benefits exceeding overall costs, with the benefit cost ratio ranging from 1.1 to 2.3.” (Auckland City Rail Link Updated Economic Evaluation 20 May 2011, Auckland Transport/Auckland Council May 2011).
Preliminary business case
The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) and KiwiRail (KRG) (previously ONTRACK) commenced an investigation to designate a route for the City Rail Link (CRL) for inclusion in Auckland’s District Plan.
A consortium of AECOM, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Beca (APB&B) was appointed by KRG and ARTA to identify the preferred route, prepare the concept design for the preferred option together with a business case to support the Notice of Requirement (NOR), and prepare the NOR documentation. A preferred option for the route was identified in early 2010 and approved by ARTA and KRG. This preferred option was endorsed by the Auckland Regional Council, Auckland City Council, and the Auckland Regional Transport Committee.
In November 2010, AT, Council and KRG released the findings of this work (the Initial Business Case) and forwarded these findings to the Government for its consideration.
Finance Minister: Secure the route
Auckland City Council representatives drew to the Government’s notice the intended redevelopment of the Downtown Shopping Centre that would preclude the extension of the metro rail from its terminus at Britomart to the North Auckland Line as was contemplated in Auckland’s formal transport planning documents such as the Regional Land Transport Strategy.
In response, the then Minister of Finance, Hon Dr Michael Cullen, wrote to the Chair of the New Zealand Railways Corporation stating that it “was in the long term public interest to secure and protect the CBD tunnel route even though construction may not take place for many years” and advising that it was “appropriate for ONTRACK to assist in the protection of the CBD tunnel route by acting to protect the route at the earliest appropriate opportunity.”