Aotea going underground brings big changes to central Auckland

The start of work underground on Aotea Station is said to be a significant milestone for the City Rail Link and for Auckland.

AN OFFICIAL spade in the ground celebration this morning marking the move underground to build City Rail Link’s Aotea Station also heralds the re-opening of one major road in central Auckland and the temporary closure of another as construction shifts focus.

Auckland mayor, Phil Goff, turned the first spade of soil to symbolically start underground construction.

“The start of work underground on Aotea Station is a significant milestone for the City Rail Link and for Auckland,” mayor Goff says.

“Aotea Station is expected to become New Zealand’s busiest train station after it opens and the CRL itself will be a game-changer for the city, doubling rail capacity and ultimately moving 54,000 people at peak hours, the equivalent capacity of three Auckland Harbour Bridges or 16 extra traffic lanes.”

Exact dates are still to be finalised, but Wellesley Street is expected to re-open first in June or July, followed a few days later by the closure of the Victoria Street / Albert Street intersection.

“It is time to start preparing for these changes by planning a better way into the city centre,” said Dr Sean Sweeney, chief executive for City Rail Link.

“As New Zealand’s largest-ever transport infrastructure project, disruption is unavoidable, but it is important to remember that the city centre around the Aotea site remains open for business and for leisure – it will always be a great place to work, to visit, and to support local.”

Sweeney said the project is also working with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and other organisations to minimise disruption, and to reschedule and redirect bus services.

“The easiest way to reach this part of town will still be by public transport, by foot, bike, e-scooter or another sustainable travel method,” he said.