Auckland a step closer to airport rapid transport

Aucklanders are one step closer to getting rapid transport to the airport.

A contract has been given to McConnell Dowell to start the upgrade of Puhinui train station interchange.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says it will cut travel times.

"It's going to deliver 10-minute, convenient high-frequency access for people anywhere on the heavy rail network across Auckland."

The upgrade will see rapid transport every 10 minutes to the airport.

"We're hoping that this fantastic new interchange here will be delivered in time for 2021, when APEC will be having a lot of visitors in the city," said Twyford.

"A station like Puhunui here is a critical link between this emerging rapid transit connection to the airport, and the whole of the heavy rail network... People have to be able to change from one line to the other, one service to the other."

Mayor Phil Goff says it's an important investment which will relieve uncertain travel times.

"We've got a real problem at the moment - we've got 20 million passenger movements at the airport each year, and we've got 34,000 people working in the employment precinct, and they never know how long it's going to take them to get to the airport or get to work... This is one of the best investments of $60 million we could make.

"This gives a guarantee of a congestion-free rapid transit movement from the airport to the rail... either south or into the city. It's going to be a fantastic transformation."

Construction starts later this year. The upgrade is expected to be completed within 18 months.