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Transit’s 10-year Forecast good news for Auckland

Auckland Regional Office
Media Release

28 June 2006
Embargoed until 6pm

Transit’s 10-year Forecast good news for Auckland

Auckland’s state highway projects pick up momentum in Transit New Zealand’s 10-year State Highway Forecast 2006/07 released today.

The Government announcement of an additional $425M in the first five years of the Forecast has enabled Transit to accelerate some state highway improvements.

A particular focus is on high priority Auckland projects such as the SH20 Manukau Harbour Crossing which is part of the strategic Western Ring Route.

The Western Ring Route remains the major priority within the Auckland region. It is made up of 10 component projects which, when completed, will form motorway connections between Auckland, Manukau, Waitakere and North Shore cities and provide a strategic alternative to SH1.

Construction of the SH20 Manukau Harbour Crossing (a package comprising motorway widening and a new motorway bridge over the Manukau Harbour alongside the existing Mangere Bridge) will now begin nearly a year earlier.

The 2006/2007 State Highway Forecast also includes borrowing $800M to advance projects in the Western Ring Route including the Waterview Connection project. This connection will link the Southwestern Motorway (SH20) to the Northwestern Motorway (SH16). This will be finished by the proposed completion date of the ring route in 2015.

Other sections of the Western Ring Route, such as the SH20 Mt Roskill Extension, Upper Harbour Bridge Duplication and Greenhithe Deviation, are all well under construction and on track for completion.

Key sections of the ring route are in the consultation phase and are due to start in 2006/2007. These include the Manukau Extension, which will link the Southwestern and Southern Motorways (SH20 and SH1) to form the southernmost tie in of the Western Ring Route, and the Hobsonville Deviation joining SH18 to SH1 at the route’s northernmost point.

Construction continues on the SH1 Waiouru Connection, which will improve motorway capacity and access by providing a new interchange at Princes St and Highbrook. The Highbrook interchange will serve as the main motorway access to and from the new Highbrook Business Park development. This is set to create significant employment opportunities for the people of Otahuhu.

New projects in this year’s State Highway Forecast include conversion of the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) from Rosebank to Te Atatu into a six lane motorway, grade separation work on SH18 from Constellation to Albany, the upgrade of SH20 from Mangere to Puhinui to six lanes and replacement of the Punganui Stream bridge on SH16. A strategic study is planned on the creation of a new Integrated Transport Control Centre.

Transit is also focusing on improving the access, safety and reliability of Auckland’s central motorway corridor. This includes all projects on SH1 from Albany to Manukau. The most notable of these, Vic Park Tunnel (formerly Harbour Bridge to City) and the Newmarket Viaduct replacement, are aimed at adding capacity and improving the performance of the Central Motorway Junction (CMJ), Stage 2 of which is also currently underway and set for completion in early 2007.

Construction of the SH1 Newmarket Viaduct replacement is programmed to begin within five years.

SH1 Warkworth Improvements Stage 1 is a new project in this year’s forecast. Investigation begins in 2006/07 for the upgrading of the state highway to four lanes and installation of traffic signals. This upgrade reduces delays for vehicles entering and exiting the state highway and accommodates future developments at Warkworth.

The 2006/2007 State Highway Forecast sees the introduction of ATMS (Advanced Traffic Management System) Stage IV. The new system is designed to optimise traffic flow throughout the CMJ using cameras, road sensors and electronic advisory signs to collect and display traffic control information. Proposed implementation of ATMS will take place in 2007/08.

Ramp signalling, traffic lights managing flow onto motorway on-ramps, will work alongside ATMS to help manage traffic, and will begin this year. The first $43M series of signals will be installed on the Southern Motorway in 2006/2007, with more signals forecast to be commissioned in 2007/2008 on the Northern and Northwestern Motorways. This project has been moved back one year due to lower than expected funding forecasts in 2005/2006.

In addition to other SH1 improvements in the Auckland central motorway corridor, construction of the $134M Northern Busway project is half-way to completion, with several bus stations open and operating.

Other projects currently underway and progressing well in Auckland include the SH1 Northern Motorway Extension ALPURT B2 ($55.9M) and the SH1 Esmonde Road Interchange Upgrade ($12.16M).

Information with a national focus is included in a separate media statement.

Transit’s 10-year State Highway Forecast 2006/07 and a media kit will be available at 6pm today on our website at www.transit.govt.nz

ENDS

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