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State Highway 20 Extension Gets Green Light

7 September 2001 Media Statement

Relief from traffic congestion in Auckland is one step closer with Transfund New Zealand's approval of funding for the design of an extension to State Highway 20, say Transport Ministers Mark Gosche and Judith Tizard.

"Another important part of the Auckland transport jigsaw is falling into place. This extension will eventually help link the south to the northwest via the Southwestern motorway, enabling traffic on that route to completely bypass the centre of Auckland," says Mark Gosche.

Judith Tizard, who is also the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister with Auckland Issues, says the extension will significantly reduce heavy traffic on State Highway One and help get traffic moving around Auckland.

The extension is part of the intended Western ring route that will eventually connect the southern and northern motorways via the Southwestern motorway (SH20).

The $7.9 million design work, to be commissioned by Transit New Zealand, involves 4.5 kilometres of new motorway through Mt Roskill from Hillsborough Road to Richardson Road. The proposed design:

„h is for a four-lane motorway with provision to widen to six-lanes in the future;
„h includes intersections at Hillsborough and Dominion roads, and connections to Sandringham Road and Maioro Street;
„h has provision for bus shoulder lanes;
„h will be compatible with rail rapid transit schemes; and
„h will include pedestrian footbridges and a cycleway, in partnership with the Auckland City Council.

The total cost of the project, including land purchase and construction, is expected to be $142 million. Construction should begin in September 2002 and be completed by mid 2005.

"The SH20 extension is just one of the many projects underway that will make it easier for Aucklanders to travel between cities in their region," says Mark Gosche.
"The government made a commitment to get Auckland moving, and just over halfway through the term we're making real progress in public transport and roading improvements."

For example, Transfund is spending a total of $73.7 million in this financial year on roading improvements in the Auckland region, a ten percent increase on last year. Mark Gosche says he expects this expenditure to increase significantly in the next five years as major projects worth over $750 million come on stream.

Construction on the Grafton Gully to Port link, to improve access to and from the Port of Auckland, is expected to begin in early November, subject to funding from Transfund. Detailed investigation work to determine the preferred option for improvements to the Central Motorway Junction (Spaghetti Junction) is also proceeding well.

"In addition, recently Judith Tizard and I turned the first sod for construction to begin on the $20 million Puhinui interchange at the intersection of the Southwestern motorway and Puhinui Road, the eastern access route to the airport. This will relieve a significant bottleneck."

Judith Tizard says improving passenger transport services is another key priority.

"The government's patronage funding scheme is working extremely well. The Auckland Regional Council recently announced that the number of people using passenger transport is increasing dramatically. Passenger numbers are up 7.6% (or 2.9 million people) over last year's figures."

The government is continuing to work in partnership with local government in Auckland to negotiate to buy the rail corridors in the region. Work on the North Shore busway is also moving ahead.

Mark Gosche says all of this adds up to good news for Aucklanders frustrated with traffic snarl ups.

"It benefits the rest of the country as well. Auckland's traffic congestion is estimated to cost $800 million a year to New Zealand as a whole."

Ends

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