Quicker travel between the CBD and Newmarket is a step closer with construction of the Central Connector starting on 8 April. The Central Connector is a dedicated busway connecting Britomart with Newmarket via key locations such as Auckland Hospital, AUT and the University of Auckland. Over 2600 bus trips will carry up to 65,000 passengers each weekday.
"The project will improve the reliability of bus services offered along the route and reduce journey times," says Transport committee chairperson, Councillor Ken Baguley.
The Central Connector forms a crucial part of Auckland's expanding transport network, linking into the Northern Busway at Britomart and connecting future bus improvement projects on Great South, Manukau and Remuera Roads. It will also complement the rail network by providing a travel option to Britomart and Newmarket stations.
The Central Connector will start at the Britomart Transport Centre and run along Customs Street, Beach Road, Anzac Avenue, Symonds Street, Grafton Bridge and Park Road, linking up with existing bus lanes on Khyber Pass Road. To make bus travel easier and more efficient, new bus stops will be installed at key locations, traffic signals will detect approaching buses and change the traffic lights to green and dedicated 24-hour bus lanes will ensure buses are not held up in traffic.
The busway will also provide a safer route into the central city for cyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrian improvements include 10 new pedestrian crossings, marked with raised mats for the visually impaired and easily accessible to the mobility impaired, new paving and new glass canopies and bus shelters for more effective shelter from the weather while waiting for buses.
Where possible, lanes have been designed to allow buses and cyclists to safely pass each other and mountable kerbs will be created where bus lanes narrow so cyclists can safely move onto the footpath. Cycle advance boxes will be positioned at traffic lights, which will give cyclists a head start on other traffic.
All work that needs to be carried out on each section of the Central Connector project, including utility work and stormwater upgrades, will be done at the same time, with the aim of reducing disruptions to traffic, businesses and residents.
The work will begin on Anzac Avenue on 8 April followed by Park Road in May. During construction in these areas, all lanes will remain open to traffic. This work will involve improving pedestrian crossings and widening the roads for the bus lanes.
There will be an official ground breaking event outside 10 Anzac Avenue at 6am on Tuesday 8 April. This will involve a blessing by Ngati Whatua and the official ground breaking ceremony conducted by the Mayor of Auckland city, Hon. John Banks.
The Central Connector will be ready for use in early 2010.