SH16 travel times to get worse?

Western Leader - - LOCALJOBS - MAHVASH ALI

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.’’

DAVID WHITE

The pres­sure on in­ner routes in west Auck­land would con­tinue, Matt Lowrie said.

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