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MRCagney has been supporting Auckland Transport (AT) since 2019 with a number of projects associated with the City Rail Link (CRL). A vital and complex project the CRL is the largest transport infrastructure project New Zealand has ever built and will radically improve the Public Transport network in Auckland.
The construction of the CRL is within some of the densest and busiest parts of Tāmaki Makaurau meaning that disruption to the transport network was inevitable. MRCagney provided disruptions management support to AT for the works both in the city centre and around the Maungawhau Mt Eden station. The latter being the largest construction site on the project.
In Aotearoa, there is limited experience of this scale of disruption particularly in already built-up areas. One of our key learnings from this project was that people are more accepting of trying new things in a disrupted environment.
The scale of the disruption’s response needed was significant as summarized in the table below.
The disruptions response involved a range of work including:
Two particular highlights from this work included. First, new signalised intersections with cycle lanes and bus stops at the intersection of Mt Eden Rd/Enfield St and New North Rd/Ngahura St to mitigate the impacts of the Maungawhau station construction. The installation of a bi-directional cycle lane on East St and changes to the traffic circulation to mitigate the impacts of the Karanga a Hape station construction. These changes improved access for a range of transport modes, embracing the opportunity to future proof and put in infrastructure faster than planned.
As the CRL has progressed the integration of the stations into the wider receiving environment has become an increasing focus of AT. MRCagney have been engaged to undertake a range of work on this aspect. This has included technical inputs into the design review process for the Link Alliance station designs. The development of station area concept plans to help AT conceptualize the receiving environment arounds the new station entrances for Maungawhau (Mt Eden), Karanga a Hape (Karangahape), Te Wai Horotiu (Aotea) to identify what is covered by adjoining projects and where the gaps are. The second stage for these concept plans was to propose a series of key moves within an approximately 250 m radius of each station identifying potential provisions for infrastructure, risks, and opportunities.
Karanga a Hape station
Emerging from this work was the recognition of the exciting potential to invest in the receiving environment around the Karanga a Hape station. The focus for AT is on redeveloping the streets in this neighbourhood to provide a more integrated transport network and an excellent customer experience that prioritises people walking, cycling and taking public transport.
Initially, MRCagney prepared a feasibility study to explore how the key moves outlined in the station integration concept plans could be implemented. Critical to this work was the fact that the neighbourhood is and has been, in a state of flux through overlapping construction works. This provides an opportunity to capitalise on this disruption – and the traffic evaporation this has caused – to improve the neighbourhood in line with the strategic direction for the City Centre. The study therefore focused on a new normal state, in which the public space can be reclaimed for better transport, urban, social, and environmental outcomes.
As a result of this work AT identified that a business case would be required to progress this further. An important aspect of this being the need for further work to integrate the Link Alliance works with the wider area to address safety and connectivity issues and implement improvements where possible prior to station opening. As of 2022, MRCagney became part of the team along with Beca/Landlab, and Allard Transport and Management Consulting preparing the Karanga a Hape Station Neighbourhood Network Improvements Single Stage Business Case.