SH16 travel times to get worse?
The newly-built Waterview tunnel may add extra time to the journey from west Auckland to the central city, a transport blogger says.
The tunnel, connecting the Northwestern and Southwestern motorways, is a $1.4 billion project of the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and is expected to open in April this year.
‘‘There is going to be a lot more traffic because two motorways will be joined together,’’ Matt Lowrie of the Auckland Transport Blog said.
He said motorists trying to avoid the rushhour would use inside routes and this means pressure on local roads in Waitakere would continue. A full busway along State Highway 16 (SH16) would have been an ideal solution, he said.
A dedicated busway and stations along the motorway would have been an easier option, he said.
Lowrie said the NZTA and Auckland Transport’s ‘‘silo’’ mindset was behind the lack of consideration for public transport.
‘‘It is the public that is going to suffer in the end.’’
Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford said NZTA’s latest announcement regarding ramp signals at the tunnel entrance is an indication that
‘‘It is the public that is going to suffer in the end.’’ Matt Lowrie
congestion is expected to ‘‘get worse’’.
NZTA announced it was introducing phased lights to manage traffic flows into the tunnel when it is under heavy demand.
He said if Labour comes into power after the election building a rapid transit busway on SH16 would be one of the government’s top priorities.
The busway should have been built when the motorway was widened, he said.
‘‘The construction of the busway would be disruptive [to commuters] but not nearly as bad as the work in the area in recent years.’’
NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland highway manager Brett Gliddon said heavy traffic and queues are likely when the tunnels open but travel times will decrease.
When asked how the tunnel would impact travel times between west Auckland and the city centre Gliddon said it would alleviate pressure on local roads.
‘‘The tunnel is expected to reduce traffic volumes on the key roads in the central Auckland area and along Great North Rd travelling west. This will benefit the local communities of Mt Albert, Mt Roskill and Mt Eden by reducing traffic on local roads.’’
The pressure on inner routes in west Auckland would continue, Matt Lowrie said.