More Roads Needed Than Western Ring Route
25 August 2005
“Network completion” doesn’t just mean building the Western Ring Route
The next Government must commit to building a proper ring road system around Auckland that will meet the needs of future generations as well as help solve today’s transport crisis, and do so at double the speed being taken to complete existing projects.
“Auckland’s roading crisis won’t be going away until a proper ring road system is in place that allows freight, goods, services and commuters the freedom and flexibility to move around urban Auckland without having to travel through it or stop at countless intersections and red lights,” says Paul Shanahan, chair of the Highway Action Trust.
Calling on the political leaders to give a commitment to complete the long-delayed Western Ring Route “within 8 years or sooner,” he noted that Auckland’s transport vision ultimately will require the building of another Waitemata Harbour crossing to the west of the existing Harbour Bridge, a proper eastern highway, a direct roading link between the manufacturing areas in the south and west Auckland, and a duplicate to SH1 between Puhinui and Karaka as proposed back in 1974.
From 1955 to about 1974 great advances were made to provide Auckland with modern roading infrastructure. “The Harbour Bridge, Southern Motorway, Greenlane realignment and Waipuna Bridge were all built.”
The driving forces for these projects were Ministers of Transport and Works in Governments committed to helping Auckland become the country’s premier city.
Mr Shanahan called on the political leaders to give a public commitment before polling day to fast-track the “obvious solution” to Auckland’s transport crisis – a ‘catch up’ construction programme to build the motorway network the government signed up to 30 years ago, starting with an accelerated programme to get the western ring route finished in the next 6-8 years.
“Transit has just let a contract to build 4 kilometres of motorway on SH20 in Mt Roskill that is scheduled to take until 2009. In Sydney, construction on a 40 kilometre extension of the Orbital motorway began in 2001 and is scheduled to open to traffic next year.”
If Australians can build 40 kilometres of urban motorway in five years, we should be able to complete the 20 kilometres or so of western ring route in a comparable time, if not faster!”