The next section of the Western Ring Route to be completed – a section known as the “Hobsonville Deviation” – is due to be opened to traffic the weekend after next, after an open day on August 6th. The NZ Herald describes the project a bit:
Combined with the 5.5km motorway section from Greenhithe to Albany, which opened in 2007, it will provide a seamless link between West Auckland and North Shore.
The Westgate interchange also marks the start of a 3km extension of the Northwestern Motorway.
The article also outlines what I think will be the biggest real benefit of the project – getting a huge amount of traffic off Hobsonville Road: freeing it up for safety improvements and to become much more of a ‘normal’ arterial route, rather than the weird mix of arterial road and strategic connector it is now.
Traffic on the road – ranked one of the nation’s most dangerous with many intersections – is forecast to shrink from 40,000 vehicles a day to just 6550 once the main 6km section of motorway opens between Westgate and the Upper Harbour Bridge at Greenhithe.
40,000 vehicles a day is absolutely insanely busy for what’s just a two-lane road. It’s no wonder the road is so dangerous – I don’t even want to think about how hard it must be to cross as a pedestrian at the moment. Here are a couple of photos from the NZTA project website of what parts of the new motorway looks like: This view looks past the end of the existing northwest motorway, to the motorway-to-motorway interchange with SH18. The photo below shows most of the new motorway’s route, viewed from probably just above the Upper Harbour Bridge looking west: What’s quite interesting to read in the Herald article is how NZTA are lowering a few expectations of the new motorway’s ability to completely fix congestion.
Senior project manager Rachel Kirk yesterday said the main new link would not provide a cure-all for congestion woes.
There was likely to be some morning queuing to reach the Northwestern Motorway from Hobsonville and similar congestion in the opposite direction in the afternoon peak.
But Ms Kirk said the agency was hoping for travel time savings of up to six minutes in each “tidal” peak direction, compared with the existing crawl along Hobsonville Rd for long-suffering commuters.
It seems like they have learned from the Manukau Connection debacle.
In any case, this is a motorway project that I’m generally supportive of. Furthermore, by my calculations it’s the second-t0-last piece of Auckland’s motorway network to be completed. Just Waterview Connection to go and the network will be completely finished.