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Quay Street’s waterfront secured for the next 100 years

Finish line in sight for Downtown Programme

Published: 12 February 2021

The Downtown Programme has reached its most important milestone to date; finishing the seismic strengthening of Quay Street’s historic seawall.

Completion of this foundation project ensures Auckland’s waterfront is secured for the next 100 years.

It underpins the $350 million, six project Downtown Programme which is transforming the Ferry Basin and Quay Street.

The Programme, jointly delivered by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, is creating a revitalised waterfront area with wider footpaths, easier navigation, new street furniture, more trees, and greater opportunity for business and events. 

The six projects of the Downtown Programme include:

  • Galway Street enhancement: complete.
  • Lower Albert Street bus interchange: complete.
  • Quay Street seismic strengthening: complete.
  • Te Wānanga (the new downtown public space)
  • Ferry Basin redevelopment – Stage 1
  • Quay Street enhancement

Beyond the scope of the joint Auckland Council and Auckland Transport venture, the secured waterfront also provides confidence for private investment in developments like the Britomart Precinct and Commercial Bay for the years to come.

After a challenging year punctuated by COVID 19 interruptions Programme Director, Eric van Essen is confident the programme is on track to finish all major works by April 2021.

“Without securing the Seawall none of our other projects would have been possible, so to finish this work is a great way to start 2021. The overall programme is now around 85% complete and we’re on the downhill run to completion.

“We are well on our way to delivering a world class water front where people can enjoy themselves and business can prosper.”

The highly challenging and technical seawall works which began in May 2019 and concluded in January, were undertaken in four sections, using three different methodologies.

The methodologies, which depended on location, ground conditions and design requirements, included installing a new underground palisade wall behind the existing seawall between Queens and Marsden Wharves, interlinked jet grout piling between Princes Wharf and the Ferry Basin and anchoring the existing seawall in the Ferry Basin and next to the Ferry Building.

Completing the seawall is one of a number of significant milestones the Downtown Programme has reached in early 2021.

Other significant milestones and projects completed to date include:

  • The Ferry Basin Redevelopment’s impressive three new canopies and gangways and all six new berths are now installed
  • Te Wananga’s (the new downtown public space) final concrete pours are complete and all the planters installed
  • Galway Street upgrade finished in November 2020 to coincide with the Britomart Hotel opening
  • The Lower Albert Street Bus interchange is operating (for Birkenhead buses) and the eastern footpath was completed in time for the opening of Commercial Bay in July 2020
  • Most of the Quay Street southern side footpath is complete and being progressively handed back to the public.

Downtown Programme Project Completion dates: 

  • Quay Street Enhancement - completion late April 2021
  • Ferry Basin Redevelopment - complete late April 2021 - but not open for ferry services until June 2021
  • Lower Albert Street Bus Interchange – in late April 2021 NX1 and western bus services will return to Lower Albert Street.
  • Te Wānanga complete in late April and open to the public in early May 2021
  • Planting and minor works will be on-going through May & June 2021

Seawall Background:

Since the 1800s the southern shore of the Waitematā Harbour has been an important hub for transport, trade and commerce.

The first sections of the Seawall were built between 1879 and 1886 along what is now Quay Street west of Britomart, and another section, east of Britomart, parallel to Beach Road.

Subsequent sections were added after the turn of the 20th Century.

Without the seawall, significant parts of the modern downtown Auckland area would remain under water and our city centre would look and function very differently

For more information on the Downtown Programme, visit https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/downtown-programme/

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