A fort­night on the mo­tor­way

Franklin County News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - 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!’’

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.

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