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Airport Motorway upgrade

The NZTA have announced that next year they will be starting construction on grade separating the intersection of SH20A and Kirkbride Rd and bringing SH20A up to full motorway standard. The project was announced last year as part of the governments Accelerated Roads Package which is seeing them pump $800 million into making bigger motorways. For those that don’t know the area well the intersection being grade separated is below. The NZTA don’t explicitly say however the intersection of SH20A with Montgomerie Rd will be closed as part of the motorwayification of the road.

Kirkbride Rd Grade Separation location

This specific project is costing $140 million and it appears the NZTA have let their most mono-modal engineers loose in the asylum to design it.

Key features of the project include the construction of a trench that will carry SH20A – the main road link to and from Auckland Airport – under Kirkbride Road, new facilities on local roads for walkers and cyclists, and the provision for future bus shoulders on the state highway.

Mr Gliddon says keeping Kirkbride Road at its present level and sending motorway traffic underneath will improve local connections and safety for people on either side of the current intersection.

“Separating the two roads means children will no longer have to cross a busy state highway to get to and from school,” he says. “The airport’s also expected to become a lot busier in the future and separating SH20A from Kirkbride will help manage that.”

The SH20A to Airport project is one of four transport programmes that are being accelerated by the Government to help manage the projected growth in population, jobs, and freight in Auckland. The others are the East West Connection on the north side of Manukau Harbour, and improvements to the Northern and Southern Corridors along State Highway 1.

Construction is due to start in 2015. To minimise disruption to people, it is timed to coincide with work to construct Watercare’s Hunua 4 pipeline across the Kirkbride Road intersection.

Mr Gliddon says that in addition to next month’s public information days, community newsletters and a project website will be used to help keep people informed of what is happening.

”We are committed to working with the community and keeping them up to date with what is going on,” Mr Gliddon says.

Kirkbride Rd Grade Separation

Here are some of the issues I have with this

  • Despite Kirkbride Rd being only a single lane to the east of the intersection it seems like the engineers plan to monstrously oversize the interchange with it being six lanes wide in a bid to cater for almost every kind of movement in it’s own lane. On top of that the very suggestion of making it easier for kids to walk to school is plan and simple BS. Every corner of the intersection has slip lanes for cars and trucks to hurtle through which is hardly the place we’d want kids crossing the road or riding their bike. On the NZTA page for the project they even try to claim that this will reconnect the currently severed community – it will do nothing of the sort.
  • The NZTA say they are designing the project so that it only has the provision for bus shoulders some time in the future. Why not at the very least build those bus shoulders at the same time.
  • Cyclists are being kicked off SH20A which is probably a good thing seeing as it’s already a very high speed road but are being dumped on to the local road network instead with no indication that those local roads will be upgraded (other than the diagram below which shows that at least one section of Kirkbride Rd (presumably between SH20A and Ascot Rd) will have both shared paths and on road cycle lanes although the on road lanes also don’t appear to be protected.

Kirkbride Rd Layout

  • One area that the NZTA suggest a lot of effort will be put is in the landscaping around the road to make it more welcoming for visitors. What’s the bet that they will probably spend more on landscaping than they do on other transport modes?
  • The big elephant in the room of course is the question around Airport rail. Auckland Transport have yet to even release a rough route despite work on the project happening as long as 3.5 years ago (I understand they do have one planned/agreed on though). If the NZTA were truly muilti-modal like they try and claim they would at the least be building the project like the Maioro St interchange which has an extra span so rail can be added later easily.

CFN - Maioro St

According to the Herald, the NZTA are predicting 140,000 vehicles a day using the road by 2041. That figure seems insanely high so to put that figure perspective there are currently about 40,000 vehicles per day using the state highway to get to/from the airport. There are also approximately another 18,000 vehicles per day on Kirkbride Rd. The only sections of state highway  that carry more than 140,000 vehicles as day is on SH1 between the Mt Wellington and Grafton and again between St Mary’s Bay and Onewa Rd. All of those sections need vast expanses of asphalt to move that number of vehicles so having 140k trips a day on a four lane motorway seems like a recipe for congestion.

Overall while I can accept some of the need for the project it ends up feeling just like it’s spending $140 million of to remove a set of traffic lights (maybe two if you include Montgomerie Rd) and not really getting much in return.

If you want to find out more about the project the NZTA is holding some open days in a few weeks.

  • Saturday 11 October: Mangere Markets, Mangere Town Centre (7am-2pm)
  • Monday 13 October: Mangere Central Community Centre, 241 Kirkbride Road (3pm-7pm)
  • Wednesday 15 October: Mangere Central Community Centre, 241 Kirkbride Road (3pm-7pm)
  • Saturday 18 October: Sudima Hotel Auckland Airport, 18 Airpark Drive, Airport Oaks (11am-3pm)

82 comments to Airport Motorway upgrade

  • Barney

    It should have been done 50 years ago

  • Matthew

    They need to improve the pedestrian access between the airport and Kirkbride Road. It’s quite good at the airport end, past the shops and the tempting footpath that leads north, and then it is along the edge of the road, which is probably a bit too dangerous. It is only a couple of kilometres from the airport up to the motels that cluster on Kirkbride Road and for some of us a walkable distance. I’ve walked it more than once, such as when the buses have stopped running and the accommodation options at the airport are pretty limited and for us provincials who have early morning flights going out, or late flights coming in it would be important.

    Also if one of the reasons given for the new road is the schoolchildren not having to cross at the pedestrian signal then a pedestrian underpass would be a lot cheaper, and be a better solution for them than the somewhat disingenuous argument of not having to cross the state highway at the lights, when they’d still have four sets of pedestrian crossings to cross to get over the state highway.

    And if they are fixing up the pedestrian access, then they should fix cycle access at the same time.

    So yep, I don’t think they have really thought this through that well and it is a very expensive example of doing the wrong things.

  • Fred

    Does seem like another disastrous missed opportunity to provide for Airport Rail. Why is it so hard for the different transport agencies to get their shit together and not stuff things up over and over again?

    • spartan

      Because this is New Zealand

    • Glen

      Fred, it’s more than clear that rail gets minimal help under this Government. If anything is to happen about airport rail, even a designation (surely the bare minimum now) then the only agencies who will make it happen are AT and the Council. They need to stand up to the NZTA and get it done.

      Len campaigned on promises of airport rail (as well as the CRL etc.) and we’ve heard nothing since. And now a major project in the area which may well jeopardise it from ever happening. Poor, very poor.

      Maybe it’s time to start hassling Len and AT about airport rail provision in this project? LGOIMA request anyone?

  • Simon

    Upgrading this road in this way is a waste of money. Is currently flows fine. If they’re really expecting that increase in trips then the various agencies should be coordinating on how to get all those airport pick up and drop offs off the road.

    • Bryan

      When does it flow fine? Rarely when I’m going to the airport – I always allow more than an hour from Swanson (google suggests 34 minutes, but is saying 44 minutes in current traffic). Almost always encounter a tailback from those lights…

      SH20 is the worst route for undisciplined dawdling traffic – perhaps they’re the ones who left really early to ensure they got to the airport on time….

      • Loraxus

        So? How much time does it cost you, that occasional tailback? A minute or three? Is that worth 140 million of our and your taxes? Money doesn’t grow on trees. This cash is gone for fixing the potholes on Northland roads, or your footpath outside your door, or providing better PT so there’s no such huge tailback at this intersection in the first place.

        This is classic “lets let out the belt” thinking designed for the big limousines driving our ministers to and fro the airport. Some days I wish they would all have helicopters, and would allow a sensible transport network for the rest of us.

        • Josh

          The article is a bit misleading, the number 1 reason this is needed is for Safety reasons. NZTA like to sell projects on efficiency and capacity, which is why it sounds like a time savings issue.

          How much value do you put on peoples lives? Trust me this project is needed, just the design needs improving.

        • Bryan

          “How much time does it cost you, that occasional tailback? A minute or three?”
          I’d say 10-15 minutes, more on a Friday afternoon. Multiply that by the number of business folk impacted, and the economic cost adds up. Not to mention what it adds to taxi and shuttle fares.

          But it needs to be built with provision for heavy rail to the airport (or is AT’s preference to run heavy rail through Mangere on a different alignment?).

      • JimboJones

        Off peak I’ve never had to wait more than 1 cycle at these lights. At peak hour I don’t know; even though I fly a fair amount none of my flights have been at peak traffic. But I imagine it’s no worse than any other set of traffic lights in Auckland peak so why is it special?
        All that will happen is the bottleneck will be moved a few hundred metres down the road to the next intersection. Or should we have a motorway direct to the carpark?
        We already have a very good motorway to the airport which is better than most Airports in the world have; so why not spend money on a transport mode that needs it.

        • You’re dreaming mate. I travel A LOT and although Auckland is better than most of NZ for airport access, I could name 5 airports streaks ahead in terms of road access (Paris-CDG, Heathrow, JFK, Changi, Brisbane). Its true, Auckland badly needs airport rail cos the buses are overpriced and shit but getting a clear run from the CBD to the airport on m’way (with the waterview connection complete) will ease traffic in so many areas round the city

  • Jeff H

    For years there have been absolutely horrendous crashes at this intersection. The interchange can’t come soon enough, if only for this reason.

    The area has an unusual mix of traffic 24/7;high levels of erratic driving including tourists hitting our roads for the first time, people obviously in a hurry, red light runners and slow truck traffic around the Airport Oaks area.

    I would advocate better separation of cycle traffic from other vehicles from the Airport and along Kirkbride Rd.

    • TheBigWheel

      Completely agree, this intersection needs to be a fly over / under. Just crazy to have traffic lights here.. also at Montgomerie Road.

      That said, everything else about the proposed design is really dumb. $ 140 m cookie cutter.

      For starters, AIAL forecast passenger numbers to triple in 30 years to 40 m per year, which is a little over 100,000 people per day. Employment numbers roughly double to 40,000. I can’t imagine any reasonable projection for PT (which the AIAL plan assumes includes rail) being consistent the 140,000 individual vehicles per day figure.

      So why has this NZTA initiative learned so little from the SH20 and Waterview initiatives, which are making reasonable provision for cycling and future rail?

      Samuel Pepys: “an engineer is someone who can make for a penny what any old fool can make for a pound”. By which definition, this is where the dumb and dumber engineers got deployed, presumably the ones that couldn’t get a place on Waterview. If any of you read this blog, get a grip of yourselves for crying out load, have you no shame? You are an embarrassment to your profession.

    • Impatient idiots who don’t leave enough time top get to the airport will still die and kill on this road. Making it faster is likely to not help this.

      • Josh

        Having an intersection that mixes a high speed environment (coming in at motorway speed) with a low speed environment (true local road) is never going to help safety, this project will isolate the main cause of crashes at this site. It’s a bit ignorant saying that eliminating the intersection for the main flow of traffic will not stop people having major incidents when they are intersection accidents.

      • Glen

        Exactly. Making the road a motorway until the intersection with Landing Drive will only shift the bottleneck and the focus of the impatience to… the intersection with Landing Drive.

        Which is a roundabout. So traffic will have to slow in a short space (otherwise no point in the motorway, after all) from full motorway speed (100 km/h) to a roundabout (currently 60 km/h IIRC). Sounds like a recipe for more accidents to me – anyone remember Collision Crossroads on the old SH1 south?

        Moving the blackspot will lead to calls for another $100 m or so to be spent on the next intersection. And so the madness continues.

        Well done NZ, this is what you voted for.

        • Josh

          At the moment that roundabout isn’t a busy local road like the current intersection, it has carparks for long term parking and has a very dominant flow, also roundabouts are a good way of slowing down traffic, it is big visual stop sign where the driver is forced to go around and not over. ATM much better situation than the current accident black-spot. The other option would be to remove the motorway and instead make it a local road environment from the turnoff on SH20. This however would be meet with a lot of political opposition.

    • The Herald article the other day said “There have been four fatal crashes on the road since 2004, including one on the George Bolt-Kirkbride intersection, and eight which have caused serious injuries.” So that’s one fatal accident at the intersection in ten years? What are the actual stats?

  • Luke E

    If they built the airport rail line, then there’d be no need for this grade separation, as the future expected increase in trips would not materialize; they’d be catching the train.

    • Josh

      It would not solve the safety issue at this site, the project would still be needed, however the rail corridor and provision should be provided as part of the project so it’s easier to construct when it comes time to building the connection.

    • Glen

      Luke is on the money, if the airport line was built, a huge amount of pressure (flow and congestion) would be taken off this intersection. Major safety benefits right there.

      This project will only move the blackspot (if it actually is one – as conan showed, there are 99 worse intersections in NZ) to the roundabout with Landing Drive. It is utter overkill.

      The airport line needs to be built, but in the meantime there needs to be proper provision for bus priority to help travellers and workers in the area now. The New Network envisages a high-frequency service between Onehunga and the airport – how much use is it going to be if there are no bus lanes and the buses just get caught in congestion? There should be bus lanes in this project, or at least bus/truck lanes (if freight is such a concern).

      Total monomodal madness.

      • Josh

        Congestion would slow down traffic through this intersection and actually improve the safety, more accidents but less fatal/major incidents. Just trying to figure your logic?

        Conon comment actually indicated there are only 99 worst intersections in NZ. Out of that only 13 don’t have a current work commencement planned because of other complications.

        • Glen

          The point being that this upgrade is clearly not about safety (as the NZTA is trying to say), it is about making airport access faster. What I am saying is that this project is not the right way to go about making airport access faster.
          There needs to be investment in alternative modes (bus priority in the short term and then rail in the longer term) because (as in many other places in Auckland) the roading network cannot cope with much more growth in single- and low-occupancy vehicles. In other words, build a bigger road and it will just induce congestion, or in this case, move the chokepoint a little (or both). A total waste of money.
          But let’s assume for a moment that safety was the priority. If so, then congestion would (as you say) slow the traffic and make it safer. Conclusion: don’t do anything here, and spend the money on something more effective.
          And so this project is unnecessary from another perspective as well.

          This is why it shows a depressing lack of thought from the NZTA and its masters in the Government. People who should know better are thinking inside the same box as always, despite plenty of evidence that that box is not what Aucklanders need or want. Put another way, they are doing the same old thing (building more roads) and expecting a different result (no congestion). Madness.

          • Josh

            We ‘Auckland’ have tried the do nothing approach for a while now on this intersection which hasn’t worked. Something needs to be done, and increasing mode share for other forms of transport is not going to solve the safety issue at this site, unless of course we can get 80% conversion rate, which I cant see happening in the near future.

      • JimboJones

        The bus to Onehunga is a joke; there you have to wait forever for a train (one every 30 minutes isn’t it). And what if your flight is outside train hours?
        There should be a BRT on the South Western motorway all the way to the city via Waterview with a few stops at the likes of Mangere, Mangere Bridge, Hillsborough, Mt Roskill, etc.
        Lets face it, we aren’t going to get Airport trains for a long, long time, we need something better than an occasional local bus wondering its way through the suburbs to a very under serviced train station.
        $140 million should pretty much cover the cost of a BRT!

        • Rail to the airport is a simple decision away. Quite hard to add a lane to SH20 through Waterview and fat chance getting a lane off general traffic. Anyway resilience says we should have multiple routes and systems. And sustainability, of course, wants that clean electric ride on the train…..

          • JimboJones

            Maybe it wouldn’t technically be a BRT, but I don’t see any need for a bus lane as such; the south western is never that congested, the majority of flights are outside peak traffic, and I imagine a lot of Airport staff travel outside peak too. I’m just thinking some new bus stations on the side of the south western.

            I’m just trying to be realistic – its going to be a long time until we get the CRL, and then the government won’t be spending any more on rail for an even longer time. The council will never find the money to pay for it; as soon as it looks likely, a right wing party will get voted in and spend the money on another set of traffic lights.
            As much as I’d like to see an airport line soon, I really can’t see it coming for at least 20 years. Should we put up with having no proper link between the Airport and city for that long?

      • JimboJones

        $140 million to get rid of a set of traffic lights – if we spend another $280 trillion dollars we can get rid of the other 2000 odd sets of lights and Auckland will be the best city in the world! Go National!!

  • Stu Donovan

    $140 million to remove a set of traffic lights?!? One would have thought that Treasury would be most displeased with this highly non-productive use of NZ’s scarce capital resources.

    They should advise the Government to read up on the “law of diminishing marginal returns”.

  • To not build now for the rail line is complete incompetence by NZTA. Either that or it represents a petty and vicious triumphalism by the Highway industry and its institutions.

    Indeed with that 800m package the government did seem to go out of its way to avoid any multimodal efficiencies, which is truly extraordinary not only because of their claims to a multimodal policy, but also because this money is additional general expenditure, not even from the NLTF. Mind-bogglingly shortsighted and mode biased.

    • Mike C

      Yep I can’t believe there’s no provision for it! That’s just a figure of speech because I can well believe it with NZTA’s track record.

      It’s probably up to Auckland Council to properly designate it, right? However NZTA know about plans to airport rail, and should have incorporated this into their design.

      It will be a crime if this is built with no provision for rail.

    • Nik

      I want to see how the planning hearings go on this one. After the Basin reserve result, I don’t see this one sliding through quite so easily.

      Is there a strategy being worked on around the submissions to the planning process ?

    • thmslcn

      “Although there are still no plans to extend the Onehunga railway line to the airport, Mr Gliddon said the motorway would leave room for such a link.”

      from
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/transport/news/article.cfm?c_id=97&objectid=11330210

      • jmarshall

        “Leave room” != “Actively give another span + channel”

        While they’re digging up the road it’d be prudent to spend the little bit more to prep for the rail under the road to save more disruption in future.

      • ‘although there are no plans…’ in what universe are there no plans? I would take considerable effort to ignore the plans to extend the O-Line to the airport. Ah but of course that’s exactly what NZTA did when last widening the route, on SH20, it took legal action from CBT to get them to open the draw and look for some plans. Good grief, if they’re having trouble imagining what’s requires I can send them a map with a line on it…. Engineers are supposed to be problem solvers aren’t they? Do we only have incompetent ones?

    • donna

      “a petty and vicious triumphalism by the Highway industry and its institutions”

      Why yes, that is exactly what it is. And look for more to come.

  • nonsense

    hang on a second I would really like people to understand the gravity of this: 140,000,000 dollars is a huge amount of money for an intersection! It’s the same amount planned for the extension of paid parental leave for 4 years!: https://www.national.org.nz/news/news/media-releases/detail/2014/05/15/government-to-boost-parental-leave-provisions.

  • George D

    $140 million to move the congestion point. To put it politely, if they wanted to save lives, there are much more cost effective interventions.

    To take the point even more broadly, if we want to save lives then spending on high-cost roads isn’t necessarily the best use of money. To take an obvious example: suicide takes twice as many lives as the roads, and causes many lifelong and serious injuries. $140m is the equivalent of $15m of spending per year over nine years, which could be directed towards a massively underfunded area of health. Dollars are finite, let’s spend them where they will make the most impact.

    • Jeff H

      Maybe a big roundabout would do it

    • Josh

      NZTA cannot control suicide and is a more complicated solution to the problem. However this project can have a measurable effect on major injuries and deaths. Not to sound unsympathetic, but reducing major injuries can also save the country millions of dollars per year in health costs so also have a financial as well as moral obligation when it comes to these projects.

      Not saying the spending shouldn’t be allocated to this over other solutions as I don’t know enough about preventing other death rates, but from transport spending point of view it’s more important than say the transmission gully which is purely to increase capacity.

  • How the hell do you have cycle lanes AND shared pedestrian/ cycle?

    Pick one ffs!

    Probably the cycle lane as its illegal to ride on the footpath unless you’re a postie…

    • TheBigWheel

      I agree. If the shared path wasn’t so wide, there would be room for a decent barrier between the road and the cycle lane. And/or a decent width of cycle lane. As proposed, there’s barely 0.5 m between the cyclists and the passing vehicles.

    • You’re allowed to ride on a marked/signed shared path; plenty of those around. But it doesn’t really solve the underlying problem that the solution always seems to be (a) mix with traffic or (b) mix with pedestrians. Our research of would-be riders said quite clearly that they’d rather be separate from both traffic and pedestrians; yet so far we only have a few Beach Rd examples to show for it.

      It’s also not clear to me how exactly people riding to/from the airport will now be expected to get there in a safe, efficient manner; how will the “local road network” achieve that? The surrounding local roads are not exactly cycle-friendly at present.

  • Josh

    This has been around for years and years. It was just a matter of when, and is actually a project I agree with. It’s more of a safety project than a capacity project, however like everything NZTA do, they like to sell these projects on efficiency rather than safety.

    In the end the design hasn’t changed from when this project was originally designed, they have really just chosen which option they want. They need to just re-look at the road design above the motorway section and alter to be in more line of today’s design, e.g. separated cycle lanes, improved pedestrian facilities, and less vehicle provision.

    Also widen the corridor below for the future rail line. Although this can be achieved at a later stage, it just gives extra cost to the rail project which the government will use as reason not to proceed. I believe they have left this in the too hard basket – the reason is for land provision reasons. They have had a hard enough time as it is obtaining the land for this project and I feel they are taking the can’t be bothered leave it for the next time on this issue.

    • Loraxus

      “It’s more of a safety project than a capacity project”

      Is it? If so, what are the crash record numbers that prioritise this project over others? Or have we moved on from not needing economic assessments to also not needing that anymore?

    • conan

      Here’s a list of NZ’s most dangerous intersections:

      http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/high-risk-intersections-guide/docs/high-risk-intersections.pdf

      Is there any reason you support ‘fixing’ this intersection over these more dangerous ones? You’ll see it is 100th on the list…

      • Josh

        There is 13 ahead according to that list that are not currently being action’d, assumingly because of complications e.g. land designation, BCRs, council regulations etc. I’m not sure but that is what I would assume, would need to look more into it for reasons, however it shows that the majority on that list are actually being action’d in someway. This project included.

        • Loraxus

          The reality is that “actioning” often consists of some staffers or consultants producing a report, and the resulting improvements then sitting for years and decades, because there’s no money for them.

          Funny, I wonder why. If we only had a transport budget left…

          • Josh

            Agreed. Some projects that are going ahead, have been built or are progressing through could have the money spent on either more productive and efficient transport projects such as the Rail Link, or these important safety projects including this one.

            The list conan has provided show they are either ‘completed/being completed’, ‘agreed plan in place’, or ‘planning underway’. So they are slightly further than a consultants initial report barring the 13 listed as ‘works not yet programmed’. I would assume initial reports have been completed on these 13 however as some are further up on the list.

            This project is now listed as ‘agreed plan in place’.

          • Bryan

            You’ll notice that many of the “not yet programmed” and “planning underway” are in Christchurch – pretty obvious why. Surprised to see Swanson Rd/Gt North Rd higher on the list, but I can understand why they’d want to put it in the too-hard basket.

          • Loraxus

            “You’ll notice that many of the “not yet programmed” and “planning underway” are in Christchurch – pretty obvious why.”

            No, it’s not obvious at all. Why should Christchurch lag the list?

          • Bryan

            The flow-on effects of the series of major earthquakes – traffic patterns have changed dramatically as people abandoned the east and work places shifted from the CBD, and the focus has been on repairing damaged roads. Some of the intersections will no longer be dangerous, and others will be impacted by the Christchurch RoNS (southern motorway extension and western bypass).

      • JimboJones

        You would have to be pretty stupid just to order that list and knock them off one by one. Surely it should come down to number of lives saved per dollar spent; for $140 million maybe we could have fixed 1/2 of the problems from the next 100 worse intersections.
        How many lives have been lost at train level crossings? $140 million would go a long way to saving some of those.
        I just can’t see that any analysis would show that this will save the most lives possible for $140 million. So it basically comes down to spending a lot of money to save 2 minutes waiting at traffic lights.

  • JimboJones

    $140 million to get rid of a set of traffic lights – if we spend another $280 trillion dollars we can get rid of the other 2000 odd sets of lights and Auckland will be the best city in the world! Go National!!

  • Bryce P

    The biggest problem with this intersection is the 4-6-4 layout. It’s diabolical and tempts people to cut up the inside at speed.

  • I went into bat this morning for route identification on the Unitary Plan – support staff having recommended that my submission on the matter be ruled out of scope. This is important because mine was the only submission calling for a route designation. There should be a decision on the validity of my submission within a week or so, hopefully in the affirmative, but the substantive issue won’t then be considered until some time next year – after work has commenced on the Kirkbride interchange.
    Meantime my source in AT strategic planning is not clear (why not?) on whether NZTA can simply proceed with the SH20A upgrade without public consultation (on the basis that it fits within the existing designation). We need to make sure that there is an avenue for public input into the plans so we can argue for light rail to be adequately accomodated. Although NZTA has left a 10 metre strip for rail (at least along the section of SH20 north of Walmsley Road) – this is a bit under-sized for twin tracks plus safe access for maintenance and emergency egress.

    • ‘left a 10 metre strip’ could they do less? What is it with these people?

    • tuktuk

      Graeme – heavy rail or light rail? This matters in terms of what needs to be designated – minimum curve radii, gradients etc and yes, 10m does seem excessive. I would suggest going for a heavy rail designation as it will be an easy link back into the Onehunga branchline. Anyway early days and at this stage, any sort of designation would be progress.

  • Bob

    Whether there are lights there or not, it is still going to be a major interchange. Traffic merging in on traffic means vehicles will have to slow down. To claim it is all about the local community is BS though. Why not have no interchange with its dangerous slip lanes and just tunnel SH20A and leave it at that? Now that would help to local community.

  • My request (if successful) is to have an “indicative route” marked on the UP maps as a first step with a detailed designation process to follow. This would not have the same power as a designation but would in the interim at least prevent potentially conflicting projects from proceeding in ignorance of the long term intention for a rail link more or less parallel to the existing highways.
    Note that 50 years ago major new roads were indicated on planning maps by way of a centre-line with the actual road to be built within 200 feet either side of that line.
    I was part of a CBT delegation to the Transport Committee of Manukau City Council in 2004 which requested that they initiate the process of route designation for rail to the airport. But the short-sighted Councillors did not have the wit to call upon their officers to investigate the matter so we came away frustrated and empty handed. 10 years later AT is still studying the matter and no sign of any concrete action.

  • Dave B (Wellington)

    NZTA has just spent $100m on an underpass-that-solves-nothing, currently being completed in Wellington.
    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/memorial-park/gallery.html

  • Anthony

    Provision for rail, like at Maioro St should be part of this work. In having to cater for the provision, another solution may be cheaper, e.g. motorway and rail at grade with Kirkbride Rd a bridge over.
    A off road cycleway should be built alongside the new motorway, probably on the rail side using the same bridges to avoid cycling across roads.

  • Probably a bit late but my earlier post contained an error – for some reason I used the term “light rail” – not sure why because obviously heavy rail is needed in order to be compatible with the rest of the network. I have since had it absolutely confirmed that there is no avenue for formal submissions/hearings on this matter – NZTA is marching to the Government’s drum and is designing the project to fit within existing designations. The project manager confirmed that they are being guided by AT as to requirements for rail. We need to minimise the depth of the proposed trench in order to ensure a safe and comfortable vertical alignment for rail – I would push for a “50/50” solution where the new Kirkbride Road bridge is elevated by say 3 metres which would reduce the depth of the trench by the same amount (say 4 metres rather than 7 metres). However, from what I can gather their design work is already well advanced with the Kirkbride bridge at the existing grade. Urgent need to put heat on AT to insist on a rapid rethink.

    • Mike

      “obviously heavy rail is needed in order to be compatible with the rest of the network”. Not necessarily – see my comment above to PR about tram-trains, where light and heavy rail co-exist.

      Other examples are Amsterdam and The Hague, where metro trains (heavy rail) and street trams (light rail) share the same track.

      • I’m guessing they run on the same gauge.

        Not so here- trams standard gauge, heavy rail Cape/ narrow gauge

        • Mike

          Why should trams here necessarily be standard gauge? Many of the world’s tram systems are narrow gauge – nearly all Swiss ones are metre gauge, for instance.

          • They are already- Wynyard and MOTAT lines, and they always were- every other line.

            The question should be- “Why are our heavy rails NOT. Standard gauge?”

          • Mike

            The prospect of either the Wynyard or MoTaT lines ever being connected to the main line network is so slim as to be negligible, so they can safely be treated as separate standalone operations. Anyway, they are both so short that any conversion cost would be a relatively small consideration – and MoTaT’s line is already dual gauge! (but 4′, not 3’6″). .

            As to why NZ railways are Cape gauge, there have been a couple of articles on this in the NZ Railway Observer recently. Hardly relevant to this thread – though the Southern Line did start out as standard gauge.

      • Bruly

        In the Hague, trams and light rail share a number of routes. Metro and heavy rail are on seperate lines

  • RJ Yap

    Go to Japan in particular they have a n airport train called the Narita Express to go from airport to downtown Tokyo

  • James T

    Council need to look at road planing from the Airport to Eastern suburbs possibly through to Highbrook drive or across the great divide ( Mangere Inlet) joining the motorway and the South eastern Hi-way.
    This way rail can be introduced giving rail into the airport from Manukau Westfield and Onheunga. This could also create rail to the east through Manukau to loop around Howick, Pakuranga Panmure or Sylvia park.

    Just a few suggestions.

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