The NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport have established a taskforce to find immediate ways to improve travel times and congestion on the roads and state highways to, from and around Auckland Airport, and to review the timing of other projects already planned to improve the performance of the transport network.
A combination of higher than expected traffic volumes, wet weather, incidents and road improvement projects have created recent delays in the area, including last Thursday when Auckland’s transport network experienced significant performance issues.
The taskforce has agreed to accelerate a number of planned initiatives, including:
• changes to lane configurations at the State Highway 20B (Puhinui Rd) / State Highway 20 interchange before Christmas to increase traffic flows through the intersection;
• the Auckland Transport Operations Centre will optimise traffic signals to increase traffic flows at peak times on the state highways and airport roads, and publish additional airport-specific travel time information;
• changes to lane configurations on George Bolt Memorial Drive / Tom Pearce Drive to improve traffic flows to both airport terminals;
• changes to lane configurations on George Bolt Memorial Drive / Laurence Stevens Drive roundabout to improve traffic flows to the domestic terminal; and
• deploying special temporary traffic management plans on Auckland Airport’s roads to increase the network’s resilience.
The immediate solutions are in addition to the major improvements already underway to deliver additional network capacity and improve travel times, including:
• the $140 million upgrade of State Highway 20A and improvements to the State Highway 20A / Kirkbride Road interchange which will create significant extra capacity;
• the upgrade of the George Bolt Memorial Drive / The Landing Drive / Verissimo Drive intersection; and
• new bus lanes heading towards the airport on State Highway 20A.
Adrian Littlewood, Auckland Airport’s Chief Executive, says, “We are all very concerned about the travel times being experienced by passengers, businesses and airport workers during certain peak-periods. We understand the frustration it can cause and we are all determined to do what we can to improve journeys to the airport until longer-term public transport options are in place.”
Fergus Gammie, the NZ Transport Agency’s Chief Executive, says, “The roads in and around the airport don’t work in isolation, they are all part of one transport network and the response to the traffic growth in the area needs to consider the entire network. Finding a network-based solution that improves travel times is essential given Auckland Airport’s important role connecting Auckland with the rest of New Zealand and the world, and South Auckland’s increasing importance as a key business district.”
David Warburton, Auckland Transport’s Chief Executive, says, “Public transport has an important role to play in providing motorists with an alternative to using their cars. Auckland Transport will continue to focus on how it can increase public transport services to and from the airport to provide both passengers and workers at the airport with greater travel choices.”
Airline passengers, drivers and people who work at the airport are advised to check the NZ Transport Agency website for the latest state highway travel time information, before travelling to the airport. Drivers are also encouraged to not use the airport as a bypass to connect to their destinations.