People can expect significant changes travelling on Auckland’s Northwestern Motorway (State Highway16) from this Monday (16 September) as part of the NZ Transport Agency’s long term development of the Western Ring Route.
Some bus shoulder lanes along SH16 now need to be closed for up to three years so that contractors can complete their work safely as the Transport Agency’s project to widen and raise the causeway gets under way.
The Transport Agency’s Highways Manager Tommy Parker acknowledges that these long term closures will have a significant impact on people using the route.
“Even with six lanes of motorway here, the corridor is very narrow and space is at a premium. With our work ramping up we need these shoulder lanes to give our workers the room they need to do their job safely. New bus lanes are expected to open in stages from 2015 as the project progresses”, he says.
To help, the Transport Agency is working with its partner Auckland Transport, and Auckland bus companies, to do everything possible to reduce delays and keep people moving. Mr Parker says that in the next few weeks the Transport Agency will introduce a number of measures to manage the impact of the work and help people stay connected with developments.
“One option for Northwestern regulars is to leave the car at home and take the bus to help reduce the number of vehicles using this tight space over the next few years.
Mr Parker says the Causeway Upgrade Project is one in a series of projects to complete the Western Ring Route connecting the Northwestern and Southwestern motorways giving Auckland a better transport network.
“The Western Ring Route is a huge roading project – the largest in NZ to date. To get it all done before the Waterview Tunnels are opened in early 2017 requires a massive programme of construction.
“Regrettably, this does mean impacts on people using the Northwestern over the next few years. We’re asking for your patience and care when driving to help make this a success so we can get the Causeway Upgrade and its neighbouring projects completed and delivering benefits for all New Zealanders.
The Western Ring Route is one of the Government’s seven roads of national significance. When finished, it will provide a motorway alternative to State Highway 1, reducing reliance on this heavily used corridor and providing Aucklanders with more options for travel. The Western Ring Route is also part of improving roading connections between Northland, Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty – helping to boost the economy and improve safety.
“There is going to be a lot of disruption as our work accelerates. But at the end of the day when our job is done the Northwestern will be a much improved motorway whether you drive, catch a bus or walk and cycle. In the meantime the Transport Agency thanks you for your support and patience,” Mr Parker says.