Mo­torists sit on mo­tor­ways 12 days a year

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - SI­MON MAUDE

Con­ges­tion is wors­en­ing so much on Auck­land’s south­ern mo­tor­way com­muters are spend­ing the equal of 12 days a year stuck on it.

And the mo­tor­way mis­ery is not likely to get any bet­ter any time soon.

Travel times have steadily in­creased each year and dra­mat­i­cally wors­ened with the start of work on the $268 mil­lion South­ern Cor­ri­dor Im­prove­ments Project, which is aimed to ul­ti­mately im­prove com­mute times. But it is not due for com­ple­tion un­til Oc­to­ber, 2018.

In the mean­time com­mut­ing pain has be­come acute. New Zealand Trans­port Agency fig­ures show the morn­ing rush hour com­mute on the 30km from Drury to Green­lane has jumped by 22 min­utes since 2012.

Get­ting home is worse, the trip time for the same Green­lane to Drury stretch has nearly dou­bled from 24 to 46 min­utes.

Adding up those min­utes each week day, the av­er­age com­muter will spend more than 12 days a year stuck be­hind the wheel on that part of the south­ern.

Mercer res­i­dent Bob Mitchell said the stretch be­tween Pa­pakura and East Ta­maki usu­ally takes him 30 min­utes but can take 90 min­utes.

‘‘There doesn’t al­ways seem to be a rea­son for the traf­fic apart from at Takanini. Manukau in par­tic­u­lar is an ab­so­lute night­mare!’’

Auck­land-based Stuff jour­nal­ist Brooke Bath, who fre­quently trav­els to and from Hamil­ton, makes sure she’s ‘‘on the road by 4am’’ when re­turn­ing to the city on Mon­days.

‘‘I find the usual hot spots on the south­ern are at Green­lane and Manukau, Manukau in par­tic­u­lar.’’

An ad­di­tional lane is be­ing added south­bound where SH20 con­nects to SH1. Bath is scep­ti­cal about the long term ben­e­fits of adding ex­tra lanes.

‘‘I doubt the new road lay­outs cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion will make it any eas­ier, I be­lieve it will be just enough to cope with the vol­ume of traf­fic the south­ern con­stantly has,’’ Bath said.

NZTA high­ways man­ager Brett Glid­don said ad­di­tional de­lays from works are be­lieved to be due to the nar­rower lanes and a re­duced speed limit of 80km.

‘‘These have been put in place to al­low con­struc­tion work to take place safely while en­sur­ing the same num­ber of lanes stay open to traf­fic,’’ he said.

CHRIS SKELTON/FAIRFAX NZ

‘‘There doesn’t al­ways seem to be a rea­son for the traf­fic,’’ Mercer res­i­dent Bob Mitchell said.

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