28 October 2020
Farewell – and welcome to a new look Albert Street
The re-opening of the Albert Street/Wolfe Street intersection marks the end of City Rail Link’s work at the lower end of Albert Street and after five years the project is saying “farewell” to this section of central Auckland.
City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney, acknowledges digging up the busy city street for rail tunnels took longer than expected and caused hardship for businesses in the area.
“It is never easy building a huge project like CRL in the middle of a city– disruption is inevitable. There have been robust discussions over the years, but we have worked hard with local businesses to find suitable solutions to offset impacts when work fell behind schedule including the introduction of rent assistances scheme for those who qualified,” Dr Sweeney says. “We hope we are leaving behind a rejuvenated and transformed street.”
Dr Sweeney thanked businesses and residents for their support.
“We cannot say ‘thank you’ enough – that support has played a big part in our work to transform wider Auckland and, at the same time, make this corner of the city a more attractive destination.”
Work on the section of CRL at the lower end of Albert Street began in late 2015. A trench was excavated down the middle of Albert Street between Customs and Wyndham Streets to build the project’s twin underground tunnels 350-metres long. At Commercial Bay they connected with the tunnel built from Britomart Station.
Construction also involved relocating an important stormwater line and strengthening a section of a large sewer main.
Tunnel construction was completed in mid-2019, Albert Street was backfilled up to road level and then work began beautifying the street – building wider pavements, installing new street furniture and lighting, planting native trees were planted, and creating bus bays to upgrade public transport.
Dr Sweeney says the end to CRL work in the lower end of Albert Street is an important milestone.
“Historically it is where CRL’s construction began, but when you look ahead it’s a timely reminder that CRL is a transformational project for the whole of Auckland. Alongside that city-wide view we have a commitment to leave a positive legacy locally where we have had to put our spades into the ground.“
Dr Sweeney acknowledged the work of CRL’s contractors Connectus (a McConnell Dowell and Downer joint venture), and the support from Auckland Council and Auckland City Centre Advisory Board.
“We hope the improvements we’ve made will reshape this part of town into a dynamic place to visit. There is a lot here to enjoy – the shops, restaurants, cafes and places to grab a coffee on the run. We know that CRL will rejuvenate central Auckland – the lower end of Albert Street is the first glimpse of what that rejuvenation will look like,” Dr Sweeney says.
From the Wyndham Street intersection, meanwhile, work continues to extend CRL further south along Albert Street to join the new Aotea underground station in the city centre.
People can stay up to date with the City Rail Link project at: www.cityraillink.co.nz
Ngā mihi | warm regards
City Rail Link Ltd | Level 2, 25 Teed Street, Newmarket, Auckland 1023
PO Box 9681, Newmarket, Auckland 1149, New Zealand
M +64 27 275 6868 | E ewart.barnsley@cityraillink.,govt.nz