A very interesting article in today’s Herald on how the new Manukau Connection motorway – linking State Highway 20 with State Highway 1, is actually create massive congestion on State Highway 1 just south of the connection.
A new $220 million Auckland link road designed to take the pressure off State Highway 1 is having the opposite effect, forcing transport bosses to install traffic lights to ease congestion.
Ramp signals will be erected to give traffic travelling south along SH1 a chance against motorists muscling their way on to the road from the Southwestern Motorway at Manukau.
The signals are expected to be running within three months, at a point that was originally intended to be a seamless connection.
To make matters worse, the Transport Agency says a longer-term plan to widen SH1 southbound from Manurewa to Papakura has yet to gain a funding allocation in its 10-year highways programme.
The Southwestern Motorway – part of the 48km Western Ring Route between Albany and Manukau – has been promoted as necessary to reduce Auckland’s reliance – and subsequent congestion – on SH1 and the Harbour Bridge.
Transport Agency highways manager Tommy Parker said it always took time for traffic to settle down around new road links, but he hoped the ramp signals and altered road markings would balance flows.
He acknowledged that a proposal to widen SH1 south from Manurewa was not on any funding schedules for the next 10 years, but said it could always be brought forward if necessary.
The tragic thing is that NZTA’s only response is “well looks like we’ll need to widen another motorway then”. What happens when traffic fills that up? You widen again? And again… and again?
Where does this end?