The NZ Transport Agency is asking motorists to prepare for big changes in Manukau when the westbound lanes of the new SH20-1 Manukau Extension motorway open on Sunday 26 September.
The new motorway connects the Southwestern (SH20) and Southern Motorways (SH1) at Manukau City.
Motorists will be able to travel onto the new SH20 westbound lanes from SH1, Redoubt Road and Lambie Drive from Sunday.
However for those heading to the motorway from Manurewa and Clendon, Roscommon Road will be closed. Severe delays are expected - so please avoid the area.
The NZTA is recommending that people plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.
"It is important that people drive with care while adjusting to the significant changes and to plan where they want to go, before they travel," says the NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland Tommy Parker.
To help avoid queues building up, the NZTA advises motorists to plan their route:
The NZTA is also recommending that those travelling from the south to the airport should leave an extra 15 minutes for their journey.
These changes will be in place for three months until December so that contractors can complete the final section of the project. During this time, work will continue to construct the connecting road between the Cavendish and Puhinui Interchanges. This involves demolishing the old Roscommon Road bridge first and completely diverting the Puhinui Stream to a new route.
Mr Parker says it is essential to close access from Roscommon Road temporarily so that workers can safely complete work on the motorway project's strategic section - the direct link to the airport.
"It's essential that we finish the construction of the final Cavendish to Puhinui connecting road so it's ready to open before Christmas. The motorway will provide a much faster trip to the airport - bringing real gains for exporters and commercial freight users who depend on travel reliability to get to the airport on time," he says.
After this work, the connecting road will open at the Cavendish Interchange giving motorists direct access to the airport from Cavendish Drive. In late December, the motorway will be fully open.
The new motorway is being opened progressively in three stages. There will be some disruption to traffic on local roads and a settling in period of about two weeks after each part opens. The first part to open in August was the southbound lanes between Puhinui Interchange and SH1.
The $220M Manukau Extension motorway project is a 4.5 kilometre, four-lane motorway with interchanges at SH1, Lambie Drive and Cavendish Drive. It bypasses 12 sets of traffic lights and will help to ease congestion on local roads within the Manukau City Centre area, including Wiri Station and Great South Roads.
The motorway forms the southern gateway to the Western Ring Route. When completed, the ring route will provide a 48 kilometre alternative to SH1 between Manukau and Albany via SH20, SH16 and SH18. Projects at Mt Roskill, Manukau Harbour and Waterview form the remainder of the SH20 link.
The NZTA thanks motorists for their patience and co-operation while the opening staging takes place. The NZTA is conducting an extensive educational campaign, featuring former rugby league star Ruben Wiki, to inform drivers about the changes linked to the staged opening of the motorway.