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Auckland Transport has unveiled its route for the central city rail loop, with over 200 properties earmarked for purchase to make way for tunnels and stations.
The City Rail Link project, which is estimated to cost over $2.4 billion, extends the existing rail line underground through Britomart, under Albert, Vincent and Pitt streets, then beneath Karangahape Road and the Central Motorway Junction to Symonds Street before rising to join the western line near Eden Terrace.
The rail loop will be built in two 3.5km long twin tunnels up to 45 metres below the city. Auckland Transport says as much as possible it will be built below city streets to reduce the effects on property owners and heritage buildings.
However, the council will need to purchase 210 properties, the underground rights to a further 70, including 12 unit title developments with multiple owners, for the tunnels and stations, Auckland Transport says.
Chief executive David Warburton says Auckland Transport is making contact with affected landowners.
"Our priority is to let property owners directly affected by the City Rail Link know about the route first and then we'll engage with wider interests," he said.
"We first want to work with landowners to help ensure they are well informed and to help us understand their issues. Property purchase is a second step."
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He said the City Rail Link will provide for new downtown rail stations in the vicinity of the Aotea Centre, Karangahape Road and Newton and an interchange adjacent to New North Road, and will also boost the frequency of trains serving the city by creating a loop.
"We are aware that property owners adjacent to the City Rail Link will want to know more about future construction impacts such as noise, vibration and access. We will explain these over the next few months and address them at a greater level of detail in future design and resource consent processes," he said.
Mayor Len Brown has made it clear in the past that the rail loop is the top priority for the city which would triple passenger numbers and reduce travel time.
Brown says identifying a route is the next big step towards completing the project.
"The City Rail Link won't just provide a convenient train line below the city centre. It will unleash the potential of the entire suburban rail network, increasing frequency, reliability, and speed of trains across all of Auckland," said Brown.
This article first appeared on tvnz.co.nz
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