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Transit West Ring Road Backgrounder

Transit West Ring Road Backgrounder

What is the Western Ring Route? The Western Ring Route is a long-planned motorway bypass of Auckland’s CBD. When completed, it will be a continuous, 48-km motorway between Manukau, Waitakere and the North Shore, bypassing the CBD, Spaghetti Junction and the Harbour Bridge. It is made up of a number of projects, but to get traffic moving smoothly, the whole route needs to be completed.

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Why has Transit developed a toll concept for the route? $1.3 billion Government funding has already been spent or tagged for the Route, but this funding is not sufficient to open the route by 2015. To open the route as quickly as resource consent and construction timeframes allow (by 2015) Transit needs a further $800 million (possibly more depending on the estimated cost of the final option selected for the Waterview Connection project). Under the current legislation, Transit could borrow this money and pay it back using revenue from tolling. Transit is asking Aucklanders if they would support tolling to pay for the early completion of the Route.

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What difference will the Western Ring Route make? Once completed and opened, the Western Ring Route will provide a bypass around the CBD for the large volume of traffic that travels across the region each day. This improved network efficiency, and the additional capacity provided by the completed route, will: Make travel times shorter and more predictable Support economic growth by enabling goods to be moved more quickly and improving business productivity Take pressure off local roads and free up more room for bus lanes on them Improve the reliability of bus travel times Provide faster access and more reliable travel times to Auckland International Airport.

How much would it cost motorists? There would be seven tolling points along the route. The charge at any single toll point would not be more than $2 and the tariff for the whole route would not be more than $10 (2006 dollars) Lower tolls would be charged at night and at off-peak hours Public transport and emergency vehicles would be exempt.

Preliminary modelling of traffic volumes suggests that estimated toll tariffs for the Manukau-Albany trip, in 2006 dollars, would be: $7 during peak $4.25 during the day $1 at night

What about motorists who don’t want to pay a toll? The proposed toll collection points have been carefully selected to ensure that alternative routes would be available before each toll point and clearly marked for motorists wishing to travel on un-tolled routes.

Both the Upper Harbour Bridge and the Manukau Harbour Crossing would remain un-tolled so there are a number of free alternative routes in these areas. (SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge would also remain un-tolled). How would it work? There would be an Electronic Toll Collection system, similar to those used in Australia.

This means that:

Vehicles at each toll point would be identified

Toll charges would be incurred when vehicles pass each toll point

All vehicles would be identified by an image of the vehicle’s licence plate or possibly by an electronic tag kept in the car, for frequent users

Tolls could be paid before or after travel either manually, by phone text or by automatically debiting an established account

There would be a means of paying anonymously.

Western Ring Route projects Major projects along the route, and their estimated completion dates if tolling goes ahead, include:

2007 SH18 Greenhithe A new four-lane motorway extending from Old Albany Highway to the eastern end of the Upper Harbour Bridge, which has been duplicated and will open coincidently with the Greenhithe project.

2009 SH20 Mt Roskill A 4 km motorway extension from SH20’s intersection with Queenstown Rd in Mt Roskill to Richardson Rd, including dedicated cycle lanes, and pedestrian and cycle bridges

2010 SH20 Manukau Extension A 4.5 km motorway connection between SH20 at Puhinui Interchange to SH1 at Manukau City.

2011 SH20 Manukau Harbour Crossing Duplication of the Manukau Harbour Bridge to add extra lanes between the Mt Roskill Extension in Hillsborough and Walmsley Road in Mangere. Includes bus priority lanes and a dedicated pedestrian and cycle bridge.

2011 SH18 Hobsonville

An alternative to Hobsonville Road that involves around 8 km of two and four lane motorway from Monterey Park, on the western side of the Upper Harbour Bridge, to SH16.

2015 SH16 additional lanes

Widening of SH16 between Waterview and Westgate, connecting SH20 with SH18 by providing two additional lanes.

2015 SH20 Waterview Connection

A 5 km motorway extension from State Highway 20 to State Highway 16, through Waterview.

Tolling would begin as each new section is completed and, to collect enough revenue, tolls would need to remain in place for at least 35 years.

Is this a done deal? No. Transit is now beginning the biggest consultation process it has ever embarked on. An information booklet will be delivered to almost half a million homes and businesses in the region. People can also visit the mobile information centre that will be in seven community locations during the consultation period.

Aucklanders can have their say by either: Filling in a public response form on the back of the booklet sent to homes Attending one of a series of listening sessions being held by Transit.

Further information People who want further information can contact the Western Ring Route Project Consultation team. Website:


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