Final stage of busway delivers safer interchange


The NZ Transport Agency and North Shore City Council opened the second and final stage of the Northern Busway today delivering quicker motorway access to bus commuters and a safer Onewa Road Interchange to motorists.

North Shore City Mayor Andrew Williams and NZTA regional director Wayne McDonald cut the ribbon on a new southbound off-ramp to Onewa Road, bringing an end to a 19-month closure for construction of the new interchange.

Two new one-way bridges separate motorway traffic to improve safety for motorists. The first bridge takes traffic from Onewa Road onto the motorway towards Auckland City. It has one lane for motorists and a lane for buses running from the intersection with Sylvan Avenue. The bus only lane merges into the busway.

The final metres of a new 2.5 kilometre bus lane opened in September this year to give buses an uninterrupted run on the busway alongside the Northern Motorway from the Exmouth footbridge past the Onewa Road Interchange to rejoin traffic just before the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Both bridges span the Northern Motorway at a height of 6 metres to give more clearance for trucks with over height loads. This will help prevent events such as the recent strike to the old Onewa Road Bridge when a truck carrying a digger hit the bridge, which was not in use at the time, spreading debris onto the motorway below. Overnight closures allowed for swift removal of the debris and the reopening of the motorway to motorists.

NZTA Regional Director Wayne McDonald says “Stage 2 of the Northern Busway builds on the success of Stage 1 to deliver a fast, efficient, environmentally friendly passenger transport solution to North Shore commuters. The new bus lane from Onewa Road onto the busway will give commuters a quicker trip into town, while the new bridges will make using the interchange a more convenient experience for motorists.”

Mayor Andrew Williams says NZTA’s timely completion of the new Onewa Road Interchange is great news for North Shore residents:

“Our people in Northcote, Birkenhead and surrounding suburbs will benefit greatly from the improved motorway access. North Shore City Council is now undertaking complementary work, including widening part of Onewa Road and extending the HOV lane from Lake Road.”

The remaining spans and piers of the old bridge will be removed during a weekend closure of all northbound lanes between the off-ramp and on-ramp at Onewa Road from 8pm Saturday 6 December until 5am Monday 8 December. During this time, three lanes going north will reopen to motorists between 12 noon and 10pm on Sunday 7 December. During the closure, motorists can exit the motorway at the Onewa Road off-ramp and re-enter the motorway again via the Onewa Road on-ramp. Delays are expected at peak times so please avoid travelling in the area if possible.

Demolishing the bridge will allow the NZTA to open a new northbound bus lane between Stafford Road and Esmonde Road to complement the southbound bus lane that sweeps around the Onewa Road Interchange.

Work on the $40 million upgrade started in March last year. The NZTA and North Shore City Council have at all times worked around live traffic and at night to minimise disruption to motorists. The southbound off-ramp was closed in May last year to allow the two new bridges to be built. In March this year the addition of separate lanes for northbound and southbound traffic on Onewa Road helped to improve motorway access.

Stage 1 of the Northern Busway comprises 5 stations and a 6.24 kilometre two-way road exclusively for buses and is an ongoing success since its opening in February for project partners NZTA, North Shore City Council, ARTA and Auckland City Council.

The upgrade complements a two-stage project by North Shore City Council to improve the local road network. The first stage of the upgrade, completed in June this year, widened Onewa Road across the Onepoto Creek and added a new left turn lane into Sylvan Avenue. To improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, a new bridge and scenic path have been put in. Stage 2 of the project will begin next year to extend a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane from Lake Road to provide a connection to the new interchange. The cost of the upgrade is approximately $2.7 million.

Notes to editors:

  • High-resolution images of the opening and aerials of the interchange are available on request.

Onewa Road Interchange - Construction timeline

March 2007:

  • Construction starts on the new interchange.

May 2007:

  • The southbound off-ramp to Onewa Road from SH1 closes permanently to allow construction to continue.

March 2008:

  • The addition of separate lanes on Onewa Road for northbound and southbound traffic helps improve motorway access.

September 2008:

  • The last 890 metres of bus lane to take buses around the Onewa Road Interchange opens.
  • The first bridge to take traffic from Onewa Road onto the motorway towards Auckland City opens after a weekend closure of the interchange.

3 October 2008:

  • A digger on truck strikes the old Onewa Road Bridge. The bridge was not in use at the time.
  • NZTA moves quickly to close the motorway, assess the damage and demolish the damaged span overnight.

21 November 2008:

  • The last piece of the new interchange – a second bridge to take traffic from the motorway onto Onewa Road from Takapuna – is opened with an official ribbon cutting.

29 November 2008:

  • The remainder of the old Onewa Road Bridge will be demolished during a weekend closure of the SH1 lanes north at Onewa Road.