THE New Zealand Transport Agency has opened a registration of interest tender for a professional services contract for the Auckland Light Rail project in conjunction with the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections project, launching the tendering process for the two projects.

The applicants will be shortlisted for contracts to provide an indicative business case for the harbour connection, and the pre-construction planning phase for the light rail project. While applicants can submit bids for either contract, the contracts will be awarded to separate bidders.

The 24km Auckland Light Rail project will run from the city centre to Māngere and the airport, with up to 18 stations. Services will operate every five minutes with capacity for up to 15,000 passengers per hour. The route will include a tunnel from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill, continuing above ground to the airport running parallel to the SH20 highway.

“The light rail route will also be integrated with current train and bus hubs and the City Rail Link stations and connections, bringing Auckland’s transport infrastructure into the 21st century, allowing faster trips and reduced emissions,” says New Zealand transport minister, Mr Michael Wood. “City Rail Link is the heart of Auckland’s transport network, and light rail will form the spine of what will be a fully integrated rapid transport network that will lead us into the future. Light rail can also be extended to the North Shore and North West without having to transfer from one line to the other. This transformational project will also help to create up to 97,000 new jobs by 2051.”

The harbour connections project will provide an alternative to the existing harbour bridge, with a mode of transport for the connection still to be determined. Planning work on the Waitematā Connections project will begin later this year, with a preferred way forward determined in late 2023.

“Auckland’s population is projected to rise to two million by the early 2030s,” Wood says. “In order to move two million people around our largest city safely and efficiently, we need well-planned and connected infrastructure. We’re not going to repeat the previous mistakes of ad hoc planning and be left scrambling to build infrastructure when it’s too late - this rapid transit system is about making sure Auckland is able to flourish as it grows.”

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