Major traffic interruptions in Auckland CBD as Rail project advances
The City Rail Link (CRL) project is launching the next phase of construction and starting to build the Aotea underground station in Central Auckland.
While station construction is underway, the Wellesley Street West intersection with Albert Street and Mayoral Drive will close to road traffic from Sunday, March 1, 2020.
“Construction of the Aotea station under the intersection is massive in scale. The closure allows us to safely and quickly move existing underground utilities before building the station walls and roof,” Dale Burtenshaw, Deputy Project Director for the Link Alliance building the stations and tunnels for City Rail Link Ltd (CRL Ltd), said.
Once the walls and roof are built, Wellesley Street West will re-open to through traffic in early 2021 while construction of the station, platform and tunnels continues below ground.
Access to Mayoral Drive at the intersection will remain closed until CRL is completed in 2024.
Local access to Albert Street will be maintained.
Mr Burtenshaw said that Link Alliance, CRL Ltd, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport acknowledge the impact that station construction and the intersection closure will have on the immediate community and road users and are collaborating on plans to keep the City Centre moving.
“Impact is unavoidable, but we are determined to minimise this as much as practicably possible while we build the station. Our priority is to keep people informed,” he said.
New routes for buses
The intersection is a major arterial for buses, and Auckland Transport (AT) has planned new routes for 30 bus services in the City Centre until Wellesley Street West reopens in 2021.
Pete Moth, Manager Network Development for AT, said that the re-routed buses will be supported by new bus priority measures.
“In the morning peak, 450 buses carry 30,000 people into the City Centre. The new 24/7 bus lanes being installed will ensure those buses are given priority,” he said.
Buses will divert either along Mayoral Drive or Victoria Street, depending on the route, with the changes happening on Sunday, February 23, 2020.
Services affected come from the North Shore, West Auckland and Central Auckland.
“If you travel into the City Centre by bus, we recommend people check our website or their bus stops to see if their route is affected,” he said.
Business as usual
For motorists, traffic diversions will also be in place once the intersection closes.
Mayoral Drive and Victoria Street will be used as alternatives.
Access to carparks in the surrounding areas will be maintained.
People will still be able to access businesses, shops and homes in the area on foot, and to be able to walk around the intersection.
Temporary accessible footpaths will be built to keep the construction area safe and clear.
People on bikes will need to walk their wheels along the temporary footpaths or can use the alternative routes along Victoria Street and Mayoral Drive.
An artist’s impression of the Aotea Station on Queen Street in Auckland CBD (Supplied by City Rail Link)