The NZ Transport Agency has announced plans for the next stage of investigations into options for the long-term extension of Auckland's Northern Busway by another 16 kilometres, to serve the communities of Silverdale and Orewa.
The NZTA has appointed the engineering consultancy BECA to investigate the route for a dedicated buses-only link from Constellation Drive on Auckland's North Shore to Silverdale, and to test this route against other options for extending the busway.
NZTA's Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town said that although construction was several years away, there was a need to protect land now for the route because any busway extension will have to be built in an area of Auckland that is developing rapidly.
"Public transport is critical to contributing to economic growth in the region by reducing peak time congestion, and we’re planning now to ensure the busway continues to meet Aucklanders’ needs in the future. Demands from development pressure need to be taken into account and we need to protect a route now so that we have the required land available to us later when we are ready to extend the busway,” Mr Town said..
BECA's investigation, which has just started, is expected to take a year. Mr Town says Auckland Council and Auckland Transport will be consulted as the investigation proceeds into the future development of one of the city's most important public transport routes.
Mr Town said extending the busway was a long term objective for the NZTA, and the project will be built in stages, with the section between the Constellation Drive and Albany Stations the first priority.
The Northern Busway is currently 6.2 kilometres long, re-joining the Northern Motorway (State Highway 1) at Constellation Drive, and includes four purpose-built stations. The busway opened in February 2008, triggering an immediate and ongoing rise in passenger numbers and providing quicker peak time bus journeys between the North Shore and Auckland's CBD.