The government’s $28 billion Auckland transport package has brought back the East West Link “with a vengeance”, says Colliers International’s head of Strategic Consulting
The Ministry of Transport’s revised Auckland Transport Alignment Project package (ATAP2) outlines the government’s key transport priorities over the coming decades.
Chris Farhi, Strategic Consulting Director at Colliers International, says the package mostly reaffirms the government’s commitment to funding projects that are already in the pipeline.
These include the City Rail Link and planned regional roads in the growth areas of north, northwest and south Auckland.
However, Farhi adds the package did contain one surprise.
“The East West Link is back with a vengeance, at a smaller but still massive scale,” he says.
“Over the last two years, a number of major occupiers and investors with properties between Onehunga and Mount Wellington voiced their concerns about disruption due to the East West Link.
“Many of those parties breathed a sigh of relief when Labour got into government, with headlines that the project had been ‘scrapped’.
“The latest plan indicates a slightly different story.”
Farhi says the East West Link was previously budgeted at $1.75 billion and labelled “the world’s most expensive road”.
The updated plan refers to a “lower cost East West Link” with an estimated cost of $800 million.
“The plan also refers to better optimising existing infrastructure.
“This is subtle, but important,” says Farhi.
“The previous design featured a large investment in acquiring properties.
“If the new design features fewer acquisitions, then the $800 million could still involve significant construction works and disruption.”
Farhi says ATAP2 does not provide any detail on the future design of the East West Link.
“Our advice to occupiers and investors is to monitor the upcoming consultation processes.”
Farhi says the package’s commitment to rapid transit supports satellite offices, which have been growing in popularity.
“In recent years we have seen corporate occupiers locating satellite offices typically along the State Highway 1 spine – in areas such as Albany, Takapuna, Greenlane, Sylvia Park and Manukau – or at Auckland Airport.
“The updated rapid transit plans continue to support this.
“Westgate has also emerged as a potential long-term option once light rail is delivered.
“The timing of new busways and light rail is however still uncertain.”