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.


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  1. How about a campaign to declare the network complete after Waterview. Or at least to define what the ‘complete’ network would look like. After all, we hear left, right and centre about the supposed need to complete the network, yet I’ve never once seen anyone indicate what that might involve. I suppose constant lobbying to ‘expand’ the motorway network sounds a lot more futile than ‘completing’ it.

  2. A few things.
    1. In the last photo you can see Hobsonville Rd on the left, it forms the current MUL boundary and one side is developed with heaps of houses while the other side is farm land, I believe that the MUL has now been expanded to where the motorway is so there is going to be a huge amount of development up here in the next few decades. Also the extension of SH16 to Brigham Creek creates a bit of a triangle with with the old SH16 and I believe that part will be opened up as well. All up it is quite a significant chunk of land.
    2. The huge wall under Hobsonville Rd has holes in it and eventually will become a green wall once the plants grow … keQCAEhpyE
    3. It sounds like the NZTA already have ideas for further extending SH16 all the way to Kumeu

    Traffic could also bottleneck where the Brigham Creek roundabout funnels to one lane heading northwest.
    “Traffic modelling shows we can get by there for a few years,” Mr Parker says.
    Two-laning to Kumeu is then likely.
    4. They haven’t actually learnt that this won’t solve congestion as I have seen some comments suggesting that the congestion is only till they get Waterview and the SH16 widening done.

    1. looks like that link didn’t work very well, hopefully this one does otherwise it is also embedded in the stuff link

    2. @Matt L, it won’t take decades to develop the land between the old subruban edge, and the motorway. I predict it will be full in ten years time. The area between the SH16 extention and the old SH16 is already being developed right now. Numerous new roads are under construction there, and the big box shopping development and houses will soon follow.

      1. I saw a plan a while ago and it was to slowly develop the area in stages, the town centre was one part but there is actually quite a bit of land in there and as a comparison Albany still has many vacant sites and is likely to for some years yet.

  3. “Furthermore, by my calculations it’s the second-to-last piece of Auckland’s motorway network to be completed”

    According to your plan posted yesterday there is the Dominion Road Motorway still to come. Would give purpose to that sorry interchange at New North Road that Patrick so loves.

    Anyway lets hope so, though there is NZTA’s ‘ladder’ proposal sitting there. Though Herald even makes the point that the network is almost complete.

    The traffic on Hobsonville Rd will drop to about the same level SJ thinks is appropriate for a RONS so there is probably the four laning of that to come.

  4. Its quite disapointing that NZTA and Auckland Council didn’t untilise this opertunity to extend the NW Cycleway to Upper Harbour Bridge. Or to designate a Westgate to Constellation Busway.

  5. After the completion of the State Highway network, let’s hope the government will then start to complete the RAIL network for Auckland, namely, the Avondale to Southdown line, the rail to Eastern Suburbs, and the rail to North Shore soon…..

    Yeah, right….

  6. It seems like they have learned from the Manukau Connection debacle.

    They need to put up “Merge Like a Zip” signs everywhere, and put ads on television demonstrating good merging technique. People in NZ really have no idea.

    People either try and move across far too early, and people have to brake and stop traffic behind them, or they leave it til they’ve run out of road entirely and must merge or crash, and again the flow of traffic is slowed or stopped. Speed up, indicate early, merge midway. Despite having four lanes of motorway either side on the new Manukau bridges, this is still a problem. On the northbound at Onehunga traffic regularly slows to a crawl due to bad merges.

    Would solve a huge amount of congestion. Signs everywhere would only cost a few hundred thousand, and a TV ad campaign around $1-2 million. Compared to what we spend on congestion-motorways, that’s pennies.

  7. “Its quite disapointing that NZTA and Auckland Council didn’t untilise this opertunity to extend the NW Cycleway to Upper Harbour Bridge.”

    Waitakere City Council wanted a cycleway along the route. However, NZTA didn’t (to be fair, today they probably would, but 4-5 years ago, when the decision was made, they couldn’t be bothered). So it got dropped, which makes me look at this motorway so much less charitably.

    On the upside, at least the designations, and some minor physical works, have allowed for a cycleway along the motorway, but it is your guess how long it will take until it gets built. My money is on this decade – but not soon.

  8. I support the idea of a ‘celebration’ of the ‘completion’ of the Motorway Network.

    You should put together a grassroots street theatre and then say now that the motorway network is complete, you can praise the National Government for doing it on their watch, and look forward to the ‘completion’ of the Auckland rail and high capacity bus networks too.

  9. Hobsonville Rd is long and slow as a driver, especially sitting on 59 the whole way. But it’s far worse as a pedestrian.

    When I’ve been back up in Auckland and had to drive that road, there’s been a cop with a radar gun sitting somewhere on Hobby Rd about 50% of the time, so that keeps the speed down a bit. 70-75k used to be par for the course on that road, where the limit is 50.

  10. There’s still one more project after Waterview before the network can be ‘complete’; the Upper Harbour Motorway still won’t extend all the way to the Northern Motorway once it opens. There is still Upper Harbour Drive, which isn’t motorway standard. NZTA wants to upgrade this section, and complete an interchange with SH1. I can’t remember where I saw the plans, but they’re currently for North-facing ramps only. Even then, that will still be a major project.

  11. And then, Joyce will pull out the Onehunga-Southdown ladder plans, and the motorways to the airport. If he doesn’t pour all our money into Puhoi after all. This man remains a danger to our transport system.

    Good idea to “celebrate” the completion of our motorway network. Maybe the Greens should do that, heavy on the irony, it would get some attention.

    1. Surely not! If each bus contained 30 people then you’d be transporting 4.5million people each day on the busway. That’d be a return trip for everyone in Brissie.

    2. I think you are confusing trips with vehicles, at an average of 30 people per bus that would only be about 5,000 vehicles a day compared to 40,000 on this road. While the overall number of people using it might be less than the busway, it also needs to be put in the right context which is that this road is on the very edge of town and one whole side of the road is farmland.

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