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Motorway Network Completion by 2015

Motorway Network Completion by 2015

5 May 2011

Road Construction Projects To Beat Auckland Gridlock

The Auckland Business Forum has identified a list of priority road construction projects and other transport initiatives it wants Auckland Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to include in forthcoming land transport programmes for the financial year starting on 1 July 2011.

Number One Priority

Auckland Transport with NZTA (and Auckland Council and Government support) to form a Special Project Group to design, finance and build the South Eastern Corridor by 2015-20.

This requires:
• Design and build of a high quality strategic transport link between SH1 Mt Wellington/ East Tamaki and SH20 Onehunga/ Gloucester Park I/C and a reconfigured Eastern Corridor (AMETI) project.

• Various investigations from the 1960’s have reconfirmed the need for the SH1-20 East-West corridor link, the latest showing that if not completed by 2020, traffic in the area will be reduced to a crawl throughout most working days. Freight traffic volumes on local roads along the route are higher than on most state highways across New Zealand.

• Multi-billion dollar economic benefits have been shown for the Eastern Corridor or AMETI project. Currently the project is being built in small stages that stretch its completion out to the 2030’s. This approach is totally unacceptable given current high congestion levels and the continuing fast growing business and residential suburbs in this area of Auckland.

• A background report giving more detail of this project is available from the Auckland Business Forum.

Next Priority Group

Action is required immediately to complete by 2015/16 a group of small and medium-sized projects on the motorway network where a lot of Auckland’s daily girdlock occurs and that have been on NZTA’s plans for many years but there is currently no confirmed construction scheduled. They are:

SH1 Mt Wellington overbridge near Sylvia Park where the southern motorway narrows from 3 to 2 lanes in each direction: This part of the southern motorway is gridlocked for large periods of the working day - widening the bridge to at least 3 lanes in each direction is arguably as urgent as current projects to widen SH1 at the Newmarket and Victoria Park viaducts.

SH20A George Bolt Drive intersection with Kirkbride Rd on the main route to Auckland Airport: Around 80,000 vehicles use the intersection every day. The project involves eliminating the intersection with an overbridge and/or short tunnel.

SH 16 Grafton Gully (Stage 3) where it meets Stanley Street and The Strand: 3000 freight vehicles heading to-from the Ports of Auckland each day converge with commuter traffic travelling between inner and eastern suburbs heading to the CBD. A long-planned project exists to separate port freight and other traffic.

SH18 Upper Harbour Highway connection with SH1 Northern Motorway upgrade between Constellation Drive and Greville Rd at Albany. An upgrade of this section of the northern motorway, including bus shoulder lanes (and/or busway extension) is needed for when the Western Ring Route is completed in a few years otherwise the already bad daily gridlock in this part of the network will become much worse.

SH20B Puhinui Corridor from SH20 Manukau Extension to Auckland Airport: An upgrade from 2-lane to 4-lane expressway including bus shoulder lanes and priority facilities at intersections is needed for the increasing commuter, business and tourism traffic travelling between the Airport area, Manukau, eastern suburbs and south of Auckland.

SH1: Victoria Park Viaduct replacement by two 3-lane tunnels – South bound tunnel, no confirmed programme.

Other priority areas:

• Completion of the Waikato Expressway (2 lanes each direction) by 2015/16

• Re-configure the SH1: Puhoi – Wellsford RONS into a priority SH1: Puhoi – Whangarei Expressway by 2021.

Alternative Funding: encourage preparation of a comprehensive infrastructure investment strategy to support raising the revenue needed to enable staged completion of Auckland’s big infrastructure projects by 2025-30; including and in particular: A dedicated project outcome for each of:
o SH1-20 East-West and AMETI corridors by 2015-20
o CBD-Mt Eden rail tunnel loop & linked developments by 2015-20
o 3rd Waitemata Harbour Crossing by 2025-30.

• Encourage a Special Purpose Group (SPV) to be established immediately tasked to deliver a 3rd Waitemata Harbour Crossing by 2025-30.

• Encourage NZTA and Auckland Transport to collaborate to improve SH-Arterial interface links and management in areas critical to the efficient and safe performance of the strategic road network as a whole.

• Encourage as appropriate proposed public transport projects that demonstrate they are ‘affordable’ and will generate economic benefits.
Maintain priority focus on:

• Encouraging Government/ NZTA to keep its foot to the floor to progress the SH20 Waterview Tunnel - to ensure a construction start in September 2011 and a timetable for completion of the WRR by 2015/16.

The Auckland Business Forum was formed in 1999 to advocate urgent action to complete the region’s long-agreed motorway network by 2014/15 including affordable public transport improvements and set a medium-term objective to progressively enhance the network to meet future demand.

Members are the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Auckland International Airport, EMA (Northern), National Road Carriers, NZ Automobile Association (Auckland District), New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development, Ports of Auckland. These organisations are guardians of businesses responsible for more than 450,000 Auckland jobs and generating more than a third of New Zealand’s GDP.

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