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Auckland projects top Transit’s 10-year plan

Transit Regional Office
Auckland

30 June 2004

MEDIA RELEASE

Auckland projects top Transit’s 10-year plan

Transit New Zealand’s second 10-year plan, released today, once again gives Auckland a very high priority for transportation projects. The top 15 projects are focused in the Auckland region, with a number of congestion-relieving projects brought forward for an immediate start in 2004/05.

As a result, Auckland will experience the busiest construction period ever, with more than $2.3 billion planned for progressing motorway construction and improvement, as well as contributing to public transport projects over the next 10 years.

Key projects in the 10-year plan include completion of the Western Ring Route, upgrading of the Central Motorway Junction (Spaghetti Junction), construction of the Northern Busway and the extension of the Northern Motorway from Orewa to Puhoi as a toll road.

At present, Transit already has four major projects in Auckland under construction, totalling more than $400 million. These are to upgrade Central Motorway Junction and build the first two stages of the Western Ring Route – the Greenhithe section of the Upper Harbour Corridor and the Upper Harbour Bridge and causeway duplication.

Two other significant projects have recently been completed. They are the Grafton Gully project providing cross-city access and linking the motorway to the port, and the Puhinui interchange, forming part of the southern section of the Western Ring Route.

Transit Regional Manager, Wayne McDonald says Transit anticipates receiving additional support for Auckland projects from the Government’s regional funding distribution. This, he says, will provide additional revenue from an increase in petrol tax and that funds will start flowing from April 2005. “When this happens we will be able to build some projects faster and we may also be able to add more projects to the priority list.”

Because it has been developed within the context of the new Land Transport Management Act (LTMA), the 10-year plan also provides a more holistic approach to resolving the region’s land transportation issues.

The top three priorities in the 10-year plan are aimed at introducing Travel Demand Management to the Northern (SH1), Northwestern (SH16) and Southern (SH1) motorway corridors. This is essential to complement the road building programme and ensure that the congestion relief we achieve is permanent, he said.

Mr McDonald says the LTMA provides a different perspective to the criteria by which projects are prioritised and evaluated. “The 10-year plan places significance on the sustainability of projects and one of the most important tools for achieving this is Travel Demand Management,” he says.

“For this reason, greater emphasis is to be given to the complementary implementation of Travel Demand Management measures to free up congestion and get the best capacity out of the existing Auckland motorway system.”

Major features in the 10-year plan:

Travel Demand Management
An initial Travel Demand Management project that recently introduced ramp metering on Rimu Road in Mangere is already helping the Southwestern Motorway (SH20) traffic to run more smoothly during peak hour traffic. Further initiatives, to be developed with Auckland’s local authorities and road user representatives, are planned for the Northern, Northwestern and Southern motorway corridors.

Northern Motorway Extension
Transit is consulting on the proposal to develop the extension of the Northern Motorway from Orewa to Puhoi as a toll road under the provisions of the Land Transport Management Act. Subject to successful consultation, construction will begin this summer.

Northern Busway and Esmonde Road Interchange
• Construction funding for the Northern Busway has recently been approved with physical works due to start by the end of 2004. This project is a critical component of the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy to improve passenger transport services between the North Shore and the Auckland isthmus, and to fully utilise the existing capacity of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The busway comprises a separate two-way carriageway for buses and high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs) between the Constellation Drive and Esmonde Road interchanges, and a one-way southbound carriageway from the Esmonde Road to the Onewa Road interchange, with a series of bus stations along the busway and at Albany.

• In conjunction with the busway, the Esmonde Road Interchange is being upgraded. The scheme makes provision for north-facing ramps and an east-to-west connection between Takapuna and Northcote. These movements are not accommodated by the existing interchange. Construction on this project began in early 2004 and is progressing well.

Western Ring Route
Highlighted among the construction projects planned to start in 2004/05 are major components of the SH20 corridor, which forms a key component of the Western Ring Route, which will enable north/south traffic to completely bypass Auckland City and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

• The southernmost section – the Manukau Extension linking SH1 at Manukau City to SH20 at the Puhinui interchange - has been brought forward by two years with construction planned to start in 2004/05.
• The SH20 Mt Roskill Extension project will go to tender early in the new financial year and construction is expected to begin immediately after Christmas.
• Good progress is being made on the construction of the first two projects in the northern section of the Western Ring Route - SH18 Greenhithe Deviation and SH18 Upper Harbour Bridge Duplication. Construction of the third section – SH18 Hobsonville Deviation linking to the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) - is also planned to start this year.

Central Motorway Improvements
• SH1 Central Motorway Junction stage 1 – under construction and due for completion in 2004/05.
• SH1 Central Motorway Junction stage 2 - under construction and due for completion in 2006/07.
• Harbour Bridge to City – construction start in 2009/10
• Newmarket Viaduct upgrade – construction start in 2007/08
• Newmarket Viaduct to Green Lane auxiliary lane – construction start in 2008/09
• Newton Road to Western Springs auxiliary lane – brought forward by three years to be incorporated into Central Motorway Junction stage 2 – construction start in 2004/05.

Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) Stage 4
• The 10-year plan makes provision for the expansion of the successful Advanced Traffic Management System over the whole motorway network. In terms of the revised priorities, new projects will be fitted in parallel with essential components of the ATMS including electronic Variable Message Signs (VMS) and Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV).

Walking and Cycling
The following cycleway projects are also included in the plan:
• SH1: Hatfield’s Bridge to Gruts Bridge, north of Orewa
• Cycleway facilities along SH18 between SH1 and Greenhithe.

ends

For further information go to: www.transit.govt.nz
Detailed maps and timing of projects are listed by region.


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