Time to gee up GI to Tamaki Drive!

Oct 30, 2019
Time to gee up GI to Tamaki Drive!


Thanks to everyone for your comments on Charmaine’s blog post about “ghost cycleways”, and the subsequent discussions on our Facebook page and others. I can see you share Bike Auckland’s hunger to ride the whole of Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive, from Merton Rd to Tamaki Drive. We’re been waiting since 2015, and still less than half of it is built! What’s going on?

Spurred on by your support, I asked AT and NZTA to update the project website – and to commit to starting dates for Stages 2 and 4, and a completion date for the whole project.

Imagine my horror when this was posted on the project website on 16 October:

“Construction of Section 2 will not start later this year as originally anticipated. The delivery of Sections 2 and 4 are subject to funding approval by the funding partners for this project (AT and NZTA).”

I was stunned, holding my breath in disbelief.

After over two years, Stage 2 (St Johns to Meadowbank Station) is still stuck in the pipeline with no official start date! And Stage 4, connecting Orakei to Tamaki Drive, is still bogged down in design, and not even lodged for consent! Worse still – the project partners have deleted the public commitment to a 2021 completion date!

This is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to transport agencies thumbing their noses at the public.

As a member of one of the eastern Bike Burbs put it, in bewilderment: GI2TD has already taken longer to build than the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) and the Benmore Dam (New Zealand’s largest dam).

I can’t help thinking about the SH1 motorway extension connecting Puhoi Valley to Warkworth. In the past year, NZTA’s contractors have completed massive earthworks and cuttings. Epic bridge piers and cross-head structures are blooming from the bottoms of the valleys like mushrooms. If it can be done there, why not on GI2TD? We know Stage 2 of GI2TD, through the Purewa Valley, involves bridges, tricky ground conditions and contour – and yes it’s a long cycleway – but it’s nothing compared with the scale and complexity of the SH1 works.

Construction has to get underway during the coming summer. Equally, the public needs to know that design and consents to build Stage 4 have been pulled out of the back of the cupboard where they’ve been hiding for the past year, so construction can be fast- tracked before the end of 2020.

Anything less will be scandalous. I’ll hand over to Charmaine to express the urgency locals are feeling around the project, and the intensity of hope that’s invested in this long-held promise.

— Barb Cuthbert, Chair of Bike Auckland

I wrote this blog post a few weeks ago. Back then, although I was extremely disappointed that the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive shared path hadn’t been finished in anywhere near the original time frame, I still felt like the project was back on track. After all, I’d seen the words ‘supplier procurement in Dec 2019’ at the Bike Auckland AGM in August, with the promise of monthly updates.

Determined to be part of keeping this project on track – if only for other families to get to enjoy the shared path together, as I expect my kids will think its too uncool to ride with Mum by the time it’s finished – I jumped on line to read the project update in mid October.

It was there as promised, but to my utter dismay (and you’d have heard some bad language if you were anywhere nearby), posting the update was the only promise NZTA and AT had kept.

Gone was ‘supplier procurement 2019’, to be replaced by ‘securing funding in the first quarter of 2020’.

Now, I am no project manager but I think the agencies might have their milestones a bit arse-about-face, as I am not sure how you can be securing procurement one minute, and then securing funding the next, with no explanation of how once again the project has slipped behind schedule.

It’s this lack of transparency that builds mistrust of NZTA and AT’s ability to get the job done.

So I beg you, Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency: please, please get this project back on track and commit to some timely delivery milestones, or I fear I may even miss the opportunity to ride this path with my grandchildren!

— Charmaine Vaughan, Buzzy in the Burbs/ The Burbs and Beyond

One of Charmaine’s children riding Section 1 of the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive shared path, in early 2017. This is the 1.7km easternmost stub of the promised 7km pathway all the way to Tamaki Drive. As of October 2019, it remains a orphaned and isolated section of path, with no firm delivery date for further connection. (Photo: Charmaine Vaughan.)

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