A fortnight on the motorway
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!’’
Pokeno resident Natalie Owen said some days it takes 90 minutes alone to reach East Tamaki when she’s driving to Takapuna, on Auckland’s North Shore or worse. ‘‘It can take two hours to get to Takapuna. The main problems start at Drury, really bad at Takanini and can last all the way through to the bridge.’’
At Takanini, an extra lane is being added to both the north and southbound motorways. 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. ‘‘The project team is working hard to have as little impact as possible on road users, and we know this work is causing some short term disruption. ‘‘We wish we could avoid that but we have to balance the short term delays with the long term benefits of creating extra lanes to ease bottlenecks,’’ Gliddon said.