The Government has announced five new options for an additional connection across Auckland's Waitematā Harbour.
Feedback is being sought on the different scenarios, with the final decision set to be confirmed in June ahead of construction beginning in 2029, Transport Minister Michael Wood said this morning.
Construction is being brought forward from the 2040s.
"We want an unclogged, connected, and futureproofed transport network so Aucklanders can get to work on time, and don't need to wake up earlier just to get their kids to school - it's vital that we have a harbour crossing that works for the city," Wood said.
The five scenarios include both bridge and tunnel options.
"Each scenario includes a new walking and cycling link across Te Waitematā, a new light rail link that will connect to Auckland Light Rail in the City Centre, and will build generations of resilience into State Highway One for private vehicles and freight," Wood said.
The first option would see a new light rail tunnel in the harbour's east, connecting the Wynyard Quarter to Smales Farm near Takapuna, as well as a new tunnelled section of SH1 directly between the Central Motorway Junction and Akoranga Drive.
Walking and cycling would be provided for by reallocating space on the existing Harbour Bridge.
The first option is considered the most expensive.
The second option, considered the least expensive, would see a new bridge built next to the existing Harbour Bridge for light rail, walking, cycling and three additional general traffic lanes.
The new bridge "would be of a similar gradient and height to the existing bridge".
The third option would see a new light rail tunnel to the harbour's west, connecting Wynyard to Takapuna via Birkenhead, and a new bridge for SH1 traffic directly between the Central Motorway Junction and Sulphur Bridge.
Walking and cycling would be provided on the new bridge.
The fourth option would see a new bridge next to the existing Harbour Bridge for light rail, walking and cycling, landing at Sulphur Beach.
A new tunnelled section of SH1 would be built directly between the Central Motorway Junction and Akoranga Drive.
The fifth option would see a new bridge for light rail, walking and cycling from Wynyard Point landing at Sulphur Beach, with a new tunnelled section of SH1 would built directly between the Central Motorway Junction and Akoranga Drive.
Aucklanders are asked to give feedback through a portal on Waka Kotahi's website.
A table of the options shows the estimated cost range between $15 billion and $25 billion.
National Party response
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said at the plan's launch this morning that he was "confident" the idea of a second harbour crossing would get cross-party support, when asked how he could commit to it with a general election fast approaching.
National's transport spokesperson Simeon Brown said the opposition party "supports a second Auckland Harbour crossing but questions Labour's ability to deliver given their track record".
"National believes that projects delivered are much more important than projects announced.
"National has a proven track record of delivering important infrastructure projects in Auckland and we will continue this legacy if elected to government in October," he said.
Green Party response
Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter called the options "extremely disappointing" for including more car lanes.
"The Government must prioritise climate action for any second crossing, as well as expanding rapid transit across the city.
"None of the options presented today would cut climate pollution or car congestion across our transport networks in Auckland. In fact, they will likely make both worse," she said.
ACT Party response
ACT Party leader David Seymour said "no one will deny another crossing over the Auckland Harbour would be a great thing" but "Chris Hipkins needs to show what has changed to make the fast-tracking of a new Auckland harbour crossing a realistic proposal".
"What have they done to make an early crossing possible other than wishing? When did they start working on this change? If it's possible, why didn't they do it earlier?
"New Zealand can't afford to have infrastructure used as a political football," he said.