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Northern Motorway widening started

The governments announcement in June that they would fast track a number of (primarily road) projects has now seen the first result. Today John Key turned the sod on a project to widen the northern motorway northbound between Upper Harbour Highway and Grevelle Rd as well as some other works in the area which are designed to “ease congestion”. Despite my concerns about some of the large scale projects that were announced in June this project is actually one I can support as it should be relatively effective for what is a fairly modest cost compared to many others on the list.

Here’s John Key turning the sod.

Upper Harbour - Greville Sod turning

The project will cost $19.5 million which is pretty small compared to some of the other projects proposed, like a $400m to upgrade the Upper Harbour Interchange just so it can have motorway to motorway ramps. What’s more if this is successful it will hopefully relieve many of the traffic issues in the area which might delay or even remove the need for that expensive interchange work.

There are actually some quite useful parts in thisĀ project and what’s involved is shown below:

Upper Harbour - Greville Upgrade

The extra northbound lane along with the changes to the Greville interchange should hopefully help improve the situation for buses until the Northern Busway can be properly extended to Albany.

After the photo op of John holding a shiny new spade, there were some brief speeches. Here are a couple of points I noted and found interesting.

John Key – Talked about transport investment in general and even referred to the current government approach to transport as “spending a truckload of money” which perhaps about the most accurate description of our current transport investment programme that I have heard. He also used his time to take a few pot shots at others, in particular pointing out the Puhoi to Wellsford RoNS saying that the Greens might not agree with it but the government do – so there.

George Wood was at the event representing the council. He spoke after John yet remarkably spoke for the entire time about how successful the busway was despite many predicting it to be a white elephant before it was built (he singled out Newstalk ZB’s Leighton Smith on this). He noted how the Constellation station was designed so that it could allow high occupancy vehicles on to the busway should buses not be successful but that it hasn’t been used and hopefully won’t ever be. He even mentioned about how the number of vehicles crossing the Harbour Bridge in the morning peak had declined thanks to more people catching buses. Lastly he pointed out how it was good to finally be getting integrated ticketing but that AT need to follow up quickly with integrated fares too. Nice work George.

Overall I think that this specific project is useful and is an example of the kinds of things we should be focusing on with our roading network. Spending relatively small sums to fix up the problem areas and get improvements rather than focusing on massive projects like so often happens.

Upper Harbour - Greville Handshake

Almost another of those awkward three-way handshake moments

15 comments to Northern Motorway widening started

  • San Luca

    Whoever invented T2 lanes was either insane or retarded

    • Max

      I though T2 lanes were invented by somebody who thought that car pool lanes were a good idea, but not car-centric enough?

    • SteveC

      the T2 lanes were included as part of the economic evaluation to get the b/c ratio up to an acceptable level under the hugely biased procedures of the day, they were sold on the basis of “using available space” on the busway should bus volumes allow it

      it was a bit of smoke and mirrors, but got the project over the threshhold

  • Make It Go

    Does this widening project include any infrastructure build / provision for the busway extension from Constellation to Albany?

  • Transport Refugee

    I’m very glad that the roundabout is being converted into traffic lights and the Albany Expressway is (finally!) getting cycling and pedestrian access. I use to use that intersection a lot as both a cyclist and a motorist and in both cases it was exceptionally dangerous. Drivers would always change lanes as they exited the roundabout and I’m surprised that didn’t cause more crashes. Lights will be much better for everyone.

  • Max

    We (Cycle Action Auckland) had to have a bit of a tussle with NZTA to make that cycleway useful (a shared two-way path right on the kerb next to a high-speed road?) but it eventually got changed to a much better design, so great to have that part.

  • V Lee

    I certainly agree with this post. This is part of the Northern motorway that does need work. I also agree with pointlessness of the SH1-SH18 connection. There isn’t even a problem that needs fixing here, the current setup works absolutely fine (I use it often). The only thing I can think of as to why this is a priority is that it somehow offends someone at NZTA/government that this is not a motorway-motorway connection.

  • Molly Woppy

    So that is why there was a big marquee by the sewerage ponds. I thought it was an odd place for an event! Agree that the work proposed is needed – especially the lights. I use this exit often and have never liked it. Also encouraging to see the walking cycling path.

  • Patrick OR Sunnynook

    A pity the work does not seem to do anything to improve the buses on the “busway” (just the hard shoulder at this point) exiting the motorway at Constellation going south. The buses still use the motrway shoulder between Greville and Constellation which was put in place before the busway was constructed. This means they are forced back into the city traffic for 100m before the offramp and have no priority down the offramp until the Constellation lights where they cross to the Constellation station. Idiocy when the motorway south at that point is barely moving morning and evening and the offramp is often full too. Very easy to continue the shoulder busway right up to the offramp as no buses continue on the motorway south here since the busway was constructed.

  • Simon

    Surely a good time to extend the busway, while all the heavy machinery is right there? Re the photo, hard to tell which end of the spade the sod is on…

  • vespa1

    John Key should ceremonially pass that spade on to the next PM and that PM on to the next in a tribute to infinite motorway widening.

  • Lindsay Clark

    What about the Southbound lane between Greville and Constellation Drive? I think it is crazy that the shoulder/Bus lane is simply not a exit only lane to connect to SH18? All that would be required is to Pave it, remove 2 overhead lights to the left and remove a 20 odd meters curb where the buses are forced back to merge with southbound traffic required to exit. Please have a look at this and someone explain the logic in this 20 odd meters of curb?

  • Gronko

    Anyone taken a cruise along this stretch of road and noticed the sign talking about setting up a toll booth?

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