Business WishList For Steven


The Auckland Business Forum has released its urgent wish list of road construction projects it wants  to give urgent attention to in the financial year starting on 1 July.

The list includes five 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, and this is expected to increase drastically during the period of the Rugby World Cup in September next year. The $70 million 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.

“The timing to launch a new wave of smaller projects could not be better,” says Auckland Business Forum chairman, Michael Barnett. “To get the full value for money and traffic relief from the larger projects currently under construction, some of which are scheduled to be completed this year, these bottlenecks need fixing – and it is urgent.

“Otherwise all we are doing when we open a new section of motorway is shift the congestion a few hundred metres to a bottleneck elsewhere on the network.”

The Forum is also encouraging NZTA to keep its foot to the floor to progress four major long-planned projects needed to give Auckland a modern co-ordinated network which gives travellers, business and bus services real options for getting around Auckland efficiently. They are:

  • SH20 Waterview Tunnel needed to complete the Western Ring Route and provide an alternative to the southern and northern motorways for travelling between south and north Auckland. Construction on the $1.6 billion project is scheduled to start next year and be completed by 2015/16.
  • SH1-20 East-West corridor linking the southern and western motorways between East Tamaki and Onehunga: Various investigations from the 1960’s have reconfirmed the need for the 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.  The Eastern Corridor or AMETI (Auckland-Manukau Eastern Transit Initiative) to provide efficient access to the fast growing business and residential suburbs of east and south east Auckland. Multi-billion dollar economic benefits have been shown for this project. Currently the project is being built in small stages that stretch its completion out to the 2030s. •
  • 3rd Waitemata Harbour Crossing currently under investigation and urgently needing a firm timetable to address the growing unease over the long-term life of the clip-on lanes of the existing bridge.

Auckland business call for speed on another harbour crossing

These four projects are listed in the just-released 30-year Auckland Regional Transport Strategy, says Mr Barnett.

“As important as they are to Auckland’s long-term prospects, it is indisputable that without urgent action to unlock the smaller traffic-stalling bottlenecks on the existing motorway and regional networks, the billions of dollars we are spending on the big projects will do little to help ease the daily frustration of Auckland drivers.”




  1. Matt L says:

    Or instead of a massive roads fest that will end up just as busy as it is now (if not more so) we could actually spend the money on PT services and infrastructure that will get people out of cars thereby freeing up the roads so trucks can get around easier.

  2. DanC says:

    People out of cars and into PT would solve it. The snapper card will make such a difference if it is priced right and works in a zones model.

  3. Eric says:

    I hope they sort out that Mt Wellington overbridge soon its a nightmare trying to go over that in peak hours. I’m not sure about this East-West corridor though, don’t they have enough connections being built to there as it is.

  4. bob says:

    And I’ld like a pony for Xmas please, Mr Joyce… ;)

    General principle is correct (no point wasting billions on big projects if little bottlenecks left unfixed to become big bottlenecks), but…. as Matt & Dan say, putting the cash in PT would be better!

    If we indulge Barnett though, there are still flaws in his 4 projects:
    * SH1(Mt Wellington) - congested at the overrbidge, yes, but not because of the bridge being 2 lanes each way! Like Mangere Bridge, the southbound congestion is caused by the Mt Wellington onramp being on a sharp curve and steep rise, which encourages cars to cut sharply into the 2 main southbound lanes, which causes rapid braking, curses, and gridlock. That can be solved cheaply by extending the onramp barrier flexi-poles to the top of Tip Top corner rise, letting onramp traffic get up to speed before lane changing.
    Northbound traffic is similar - 2 causes - the stub merge lane lets rat-runners bypass the traffic jam and try to force their way in at the overbridge; put flexi-pole barriers in to stop this. Second cause is actually the appalling northbound onramp from Great South Rd/SH10A (Pakuranga highway). Kill the daft T2 lane and extend flexi-poles on the onramp and police it better.

    * SH20B (Puhinui Rd) and SH16 (Grafton-Ports) extensions are rubbish - totally unjustified. No gridlock on SH20B presently or in short term, and bridging Alten Rd over the Grafton Gully motorway only extends the motorway 100m to the next at-grade junction - Parnell Rise - which can’t be readily bridge due to the overhead rail bridge!!!

    Bizarrely, a few cheap & short-term road bottlenecks that could be solved are totall unmentioned:
    * SH1 (Ellerslie northbound onramp) - a major source of jams due to short merge length, and rail lines hard up against it mean you can’t widen to West. But you can expand the whole motorway East a few metres by widening into the grass reserve at Cawley St - enough to shift median barriers and lane markings East, giving a longer northbound onramp on the other side of the motorway.
    * SH10A(Carbine Rd) - bridging the at-grade junction of SH10A with Carbine Rd (and closing the pointless Waipuna Rd entry & exit) gives seamless 80km’hr motorway from Pakuranga shops to Great South Rd in Penrose and SH1. All that for 1 small overbridge - no more than $20m tops.

    Notice that Barnett’s wishlist though, is purely focussed on what is good for commercial road freight firms? (with Airport, Penrose industrial, Ports of A, etc as destinations) No help to general commuters from the Akld Business Forum.

    Better still, extend Onehunga rail to Mangere Bridge, and take cars off SH20 before they cross the bridge! Ditto Sylvia Park to Pakuranga rail.

  5. Andrew says:

    And how much funding is the Auckland Business Forum prepared to contribute towards these projects?

  6. Sam F says:

    Ah, plans for yet another shortsighted RTF-friendly roadgasm with some tiny, miserable concessions to PT improvement tacked on as afterthoughts.

    Does this stuff even count as news anymore?

  7. Eric says:

    I looked at the report myself and the it does also point out that we should be investing in public transport aswell and mentions funding the CBD loop and other various public transport options.

  8. max says:

    “I looked at the report myself and the it does also point out that we should be investing in public transport aswell and mentions funding the CBD loop and other various public transport options.”

    Does it also mention that these are the last upgrades we need for our motorways, and then we can quit? AKA the Joyce mantra of completing our motorways?


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