The road, with a bridge over the Weiti River, was first mooted by US forces who offered to build it in the 1940s, and has been on Auckland transport planning as a possible Public Private Partnership since 1981.
Whether Penlink makes the cut on the new Labour Government’s list of transport priorities will become clear by the end of April.
Under the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), the Government and Auckland Council’s agreed strategic approach for the development of Auckland’s transport system, Penlink will proceed in the next decade to address accelerated growth and the congestion that comes with it.
But the Labour Government’s announcement on it’s land transport priorities for the next decade shows it has asked for ATAP to be updated to take into consideration its new outlook for an emphasis on road safety and public transport.
ATAP will then set the direction for Auckland, supported by the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport, and a ministerial expectation from Transport Minister Phil Twyford that the NZ Transport Agency take a lead role alongside Auckland Transport to advance ATAP.
A joint government and Auckland Council ATAP announcement is expected mid-April, but a specific date hasn’t been set, Auckland Council said.
The 7km alternative access road to the north Auckland’s Whangaparāoa Peninsula is crucial for the economy of the area, Marja Lubeck says.
In the lead up to the announcement Labour list MP Marja Lubeck has been making noise in the House of Representatives and advocating to the Transport Minister for the alternative route on to Auckland’s Whangaparāoa Peninsula.
With the Government preference on influencing travel demand to trains, walking and cycling not an option, Lubeck hopes the project can tick the boxes for unlocking congestion and alleviating pressure on growth and business.
The growth that saw Penlink brought forward into the first decade of ATAP was still occurring and businesses and residents were already struggling with the congestion, she said.
She has told Twyford that once finished, current residential and business expansion at Millwater, Milldale, Dairy Flat and Wainui will see 147,000 people with sole access to State Highway 1 through an already struggling Silverdale interchange.
The safety issue of only one entry and exit on to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, leaving people trapped every time there was a serious car accident, was also often overlooked, Lubeck said.
The effect on business had also seen the Auckland Chamber of Commerce join the fight for Penlink.
The Chamber already had prospective investors ready to cash in on the project’s high benefit to cost ratio and start building the fully consented road as a Public Private Partnership, Lubeck said.
“One with $400m who also wants to help fund the Silverdale business area transport improvement,” Lubeck said.
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