A fairly significant proposed roading project, from Redoubt Road in Manukau down to Mill Road in Takanini, has pretty much slipped by unnoticed as its investigation continues – although some elements of the project seem to be causing quite a bit of angst with the locals. This in the NZ Herald today:

Hundreds of homes are in the firing line of a new arterial road for South Auckland – of which the first section alone is costed at almost $250 million.

Auckland Transport says about 260 properties, many of them along Redoubt Rd above Manukau, are in the path of the first stage of what it ultimately envisages as a 32km eastern bypass of the Southern Motorway to Drury.

The council organisation revealed last night a cost estimate of $246 million for the 9.2km section from Manukau and Flat Bush to Alfriston east of Manurewa, parallel with Mill Rd – including $66 million for property purchases – although it has yet to hazard a price for the full project.

Only $82 million is allocated for the next 10 years, and the project could take twice that time to complete.

But it intends seeking a route designation for the first section from the council’s planners by the end of next month, and says it is powerless to stop landowners from building new homes until then.

The plan has horrified residents of the historic Redoubt Ridge, through which Auckland Transport intends carving a road corridor up to 30m wide, past a remodelled junction with a widened Murphys Rd running from Flat Bush.

At a high level there seems to be some logic in the project – providing an eastern alternative to the Southern Motorway, as shown in the Auckland Plan transport project map:aucklandplan-millroadHowever, as always a lot comes down to the details of project like these – particularly in terms of what kind of corridor upgrade we’re going to get for the massive quarter of a billion dollars proposed. Checking out the proposed cross-sections on Auckland Transport’s website I can’t say I’m particularly impressed as what’s proposed looks like a defacto motorway with no provision for public transport, rather than a true multi-modal corridor which will support high quality development around it in the future. For example:2-alexia-murphysA proposed cross-section of Murphys Road, which connects the corridor with Flat Bush, is even more bizarre:murphys-cross-sectionWhat on earth is the point of wasting 8.2 metres of road width with a giant median strip? It’s not like this road is going to be upgraded to four lanes each way at some point in the future utilising the median strip (at least I hope not). The impact of the road on the bush in this section is highlighted in the Herald article as one area that’s annoying the locals:

Redoubt Rd resident Raewyn Roberts, spokeswoman for an action committee to fight the proposal, yesterday called on Auckland Transport to avoid destroying what remained of a valuable ecological corridor from Murphys Bush to Totara Park and beyond.

Ms Roberts points to the design of the project as a “massive dual carriageway”:

“It’s appalling,” she said. “This is a mega, mega project – they have this massive dual carriageway which will come roaring up from the old Manukau City centre, wipe out the ridge, then sweep down Mill Rd.”

While a certain amount of “moaning locals” seems inevitable with most transport projects I think what’s horrifying people most of all in terms of this project is the vast over-design we’re seeing. A southern motorway bypass needs to be effective at shifting quite a lot of traffic, yes, but whether it needs to be designed for 80 kph average speeds (which is what the design looks like) with enormously wide medians is quite another matter. I think a scaled back project would not only be more likely to gain public acceptance, but it might also cost a hell of a lot less than the $250 million the current monstrosity is budgeted to cost.

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  1. Living in the area, I’ve actually been following this project for about 4 years now, and have been surprised that it hasn’t been mentioned here before (as far as I can tell)

    Regards public transport provision, there is a west-bound bus lane included between the Motorway and Hollyford Drive, which will be part of the new frequent bus network, but that’s all really, which is a shame.Of course, most of the route falls outside the metropolitan urban limits, so bus services are less likely to use the route anyway.

    The 8.4m median on Murphys Rd is only meant to be adjacent to Murphys Bush, I think, as a way to mitigate its effects on the ecological area. Otherwise the median is 2m.

    They really have stuffed around the affected residents though. Back in 2010 they already had a route design following consultations which looked rather different from that proposed now in places. Auckland Transport then came along and decided to redo it all…

    1. Yeah the design just screams “Manukau City Council roadsfest” doesn’t it? Not surprising as I’m guessing it’s probably former Manukau City staff working on it. A pity that the generally improved approach to design in other Auckland Transport projects, like bits of AMETI, aren’t being applied here.

  2. What I struggle to understand is “alternatves to the southern motorway”. If the motorways aren’t doing the job why do we constantly need to build mini-motorways. Race to the bottom.

  3. And also bizarre to think that cyclists and/or on street parking would be required for these cross sections. Hey look, cyclists are in the drawing- we’re considering alt modes.

    1. While I share your concern at Murphys Road DEFAULT cross-section getting on-street parking, I am unsure why you are concerned about cycle provision. Surely rural and semi-rural areas deserve cycling facilities too?

      What myself and CAA were concerned about was the fact that these are ON-STREET cycle facilities, when especially in higher-speed rural sections, you really need off-street cycleways.

  4. If this were a 2 lane road alongside a dedicated busway (or even light rail line) that joined into the AMETI project I could understand it but another 4 lanes alongside SH1? Nuts!

  5. In the second picture, note the bike lane in the car door zone – the most dangerous place on the road for it. Right next to an 8m wide strip of wasted land, sorry median strip. Bizarre.

    Presumably many aspects of road design are the subject of established standards to ensure safety. ‘Strict prohibition on bike lanes inthe car door zone’ should be one such standard.

    1. The rules require 1.8m wide cycle lanes next to car parking, not 1.5m, so one can rider far enough away from the doors. And even wider cycle lanes if the road itself is speedier than 50 km/h.

      1. Yes funny how the cycle lane gets *narrrower* next to the parked cars, and at the very point where the traffic lane is narrowed putting the traffic closer to the cyclists! All so there can be an 8m median!

  6. This insane project needs to be stopped! This is just complete madness. If Auckland Council wants to chop rates rises – here is the beast to stop!

  7. I cant beleive that there are saying it is to go to Drury. There is no way through or around Papakura that isnt incredibly destructive, and the further east you get (away from residential) road becomes more indirect, and terrain more difficult. Yes Mill Road needs upgrading as is a 2 lane rural road at the moment, but 2 lanes is plenty, and should link back to Takanini and no further, otherwise will cause big mess around Papakura and Addison.

  8. Looking at the Priority Transport Project diagram the Redoubt – Mill Rd project is listed as no.5. Is this list in order of importance/projected completion date?
    Number 1 is the CRL and number 3 is an additional Waitamata Harbour crossing!!!

    If this is the order someone is either promoting their pet project or the Redoubt-Hill Rd upgrade is quite some years away.

  9. its not insane when you think about what is going on out south. massive growth in housing is planned out there and the typical response is to build roads that can cope with the volumes of cars that will come. we aren’t getting trains out that way and buses need roads too…. regardless I think this is at least 10 years away from happening.

  10. I agree. it is probably as suggested with old mcc engineers doing what they have always done building massive roads without considering all modes. at very least there should be plenty of bus lanes thrown in there.

  11. The other big issue is it doesn’t lead anywhere at all! The map shows it heading straight towards the Papakura town centre which is just plain crazy.
    The current stage just ends at Popes Road (not even intersection upgrade here!) which will cause a big mess as cars fill the surrounding roads getting to Motorway at Takanini.
    The big issue why they need a new road is the existing one has dozens of lifestlye blocks coming off it. As soon as this road was shown as an arterial on plans a decade ago this lifestyle subdivision should have been stopped. Then they could of done an easy upgrade of the existing road.
    I think they should do a 1 lane upgrade of the existing road, but then widen it to include a separated service lane on each side of the road, and then house occupiers will just have to turn around at the next roundabout if they want to go the opposite way.

    1. Papakura is already connected to Manukau City via SH1. This is clearly the wrong type of road if it is to serve the local area; so what is it’s purpose? Why is it parallel to the motorway? At least the earlier horror roads like these by MCC are perpendicular to the main line of SH1; they don’t run along side it. It makes no sense. This is a machine to destroy land value.

      So what if it’s been on a map for years it doesn’t mean it makes sense to build it now. At least not as described above.

      1. Yes it is bizzare this road upgrade goes all the way from Takanini to Manukau CIty. Not only is it parallel to SH1, it is also parallel to the four laned highway type section of Great South Road. Note also in the maps is the severance created by this road upgrade on Redoubt Road. Is being upgraded from 2 lanes to become six-lanes of seal with 4 traffic lanes a median/turning lane and a bus lane.
        At least they are adding a bunch of traffic lights along the way so people can cross the road, but 6 lane wide roads always create serious severance issues.

  12. From those diagrams, it looks like there is plenty of room for seperated cycleways, not unprotected cycle lanes next to parked cars on what I presume will be a high speed road. Thats a fatal accident waiting to happen.
    It looks like a typical NZTA road design. Quite surprising to read its a council project. I would have thought the cycling facilities would be much higher standard than that.

  13. As another person who lives very close to this I read alot of the above hand wringing anguish with amusement.

    I’m looking forward to mill road and redoubt rd actually being able to be used by a pedestrian or cyclist, because mill road in particular cannot at the moment

    Why 80kph – probably in part because it already is

    A bunch of redoubt road itself is already getting 400 sqm developments done on it. Sorry guys if you think its all lifestyle blocks but that changed a few years ago.

    You cant upgrade mill road on its current alignment so Id say good on AT for realising that if you’re going to have to do a cut and fill anyway might as well cater for a few more lanes

    1. Of course it is not all lifestyle blocks as it used to be mores the pity, surely it is then all the more important to hold on to those that remain. It is very rare to have rural spaces like this so close to a city the size of Auckland. To slice through the middle plowing down beauitful houses and important stands of bush, native and otherwise on the way is nothing short of criminal. Some improvements to the road ok but to build another motorway to run beside SH1, Grt Sth Rd and Roscommon Road is utter madness and a complete waste of Auckland rate payers money. As for walkers and cyclists…use Totara Park.

  14. Yes we agree that an upgrade from rural to urban road standards is required, complete with cycle and pedestrian facilities, but this upgrade is creating Te Irirangi Drive, which is not required at all. Redoubt Road is only in the MUL as far east as Hilltop Road, so Alexia Place is the last site along there to be devleoped. The lifestyle blocks further east along Redoubt Road are all outside the MUL, so have huge houses right in the middle of huge sections, so hard to redevelop even if it were rezoned.
    Upgrading on the exisitng route is a great idea, only property purchase will be narrow slithers, and nothing wrong with a few nice curves in the road to slow traffic down.

  15. Hi Luke C – while the sections in Regis Park are large at around 1000sqm, I wouldn’t go as far as to say Huge.

    Also given the normal complaints about motorways being a divider in the residential context isn’t it better to have a corridor like this that is outside the residential boundary?

  16. Regis Park is far to the north of this project, and the sections are about 1400m2, with most of the land in common ownership. Same effect as really large sections as far as development denisty goes and redevelopment potential.
    I was talking about sections along Redoubt and Murphys Road along this project length are about 5000m2.
    This corridor is in an area of Auckland that is increasing urbanising, especially to the south around Takanini, where this current project ends.
    For example cuts off Alfriston School from the areas to the west that are sure to urbanise soon, and cuts off Totara Park from surrounding communities.

  17. Do you think there is any plans to change the zoning of the 5,000m2 Redoubt Rd properties near the new corridor to smaller parcels (e.g. 1,000m2)? It seems if there is a sizeable new road going through, that the very nature of the 5,000 m2 lifestyle blocks is going to change. Perhaps it is an area therefore where smaller sections become warranted?

    1. As a resident in the affected area…many of the 5,000m2 zoned properties are on unstable land prone to subsidence and that is a reason for the zoning. The road in the mill road/redoubt road area is planned to go through this area of creeks and gullies and much engineering work will be required. Ratepayers will need to foot the enormous bills required. It would make more sense to divert traffic as far as possible through existing corridors such as the southern motorway and te irirangi drive.

    2. I am a local resident. Yes the nature of the lifestyle blocks along the road would change. A multi-lane highway cutting up the area and roaring nearby would affect the sections. However one of the reasons that this is a lifestyle area is because the land along this part of the route is unstable with high subsidence and creeks and gullies. The engineering and continuing maintenance costs will be high for the road. They should look at channelling traffic to existing corridors such as the southern motorway and te irirangi drive. The current plan will eat up our rates.

  18. I live in Papakura (Rice Crescent) and I already have been served with a map showing a Mill Rd – Cosgrave Rd extension striking through the residential area just behind my house to join SH 1 at Drury. It is a road to nowhere for no-one, merely serving highway construction interests and their close buddies the in-fill housing gang. Metropolitan Auckland already cuts the the North Island into two geographically distinctly isolated pieces and no amount of additional parallel north/south road construction is going to change that fact. Such roading will only make things worse as with too many straws crammed down the neck of a bottle they will ultimately block the whole thing.from east to west as is now practically the case from north to south. It is time for the supercity to start decentralizing some of its bulk into the nether regions of its extent (a full degree of latitude by my count)..

    1. We just bought a house down the Papakura end of Cosgrave Rd, I’m trying to find a copy of that map you are talking about. Any ideas where I can find it?

  19. Who is leading who? Auckland Councillors are supposed to be democratically elected?, does Auckland Council tell Auckland Transport what to do or the other way around? The residents and people of Manukau realize an upgrade needs to be done on Redoubt/Mill/Murpyh’s Road, there was a perfectly acceptable plan from Opus under the old MCC that the majority were happy with. A large roundabout at the Murphy’s Road/Redoubt Road intersection could easily be done within 6 months, with little cost, helping the traffic to flow smoothly, instead of the huge traffic delays experienced at peck traffic times right now, it is a nightmare.
    The other impact, is the ridiculous idea of going through an important bush area of 800 year old native trees
    and destroying the whole rural character of the area, the old plan was quite satisfactory and a lot less, of course this is conquer and divide as it is only the first stage of the Flatbush to Drury plan that is going to cost the ratepayers dearly!
    The wider picture is the problem of overseas investors buying up to 8 properties at a time and living overseas, thus bumping up the cost of houses in Auckland so Kiwis can’t afford to buy them, Central government needs to change this law,Australia does not allow this to happen!
    Wake up people of Auckland, your rates are going to go up every year, with the attitude of a mayor who thinks Auckland ratepayers are a bottomless pit.
    Carol B

  20. One answer to all your problems – stop having children and stop allowing immigration!!
    Then we can all live on lifestyle blocks and spread out as far as we like. If that doesn’t appeal then we have to find a way of seeing into the future of where development will go and arranging transport links to cope with that. Anyone with a crystal ball we can all borrow? No? Well then i guess we will just have to do the best we can.

    And for those people saying the link from Takanini through to Drury isn’t necessary i recommend you go spend the night in Puke or Tuakau and then try to get to Manukau the next morning. Or vice versa. The motorway is always blocked – especially at Takanini. Not everyone lives 5kms from work (like i choose to do). Bring on light rail to complement these links and it will work!

  21. I’m from Papakura and a large number of the population use walters Road and Redoubt Road to access the Falt Bush, Botany area. The road needs some form of development, however I am unsure of if it should be the only solution.

    Why can the actaul Southern motor way be widened?

    Papakura is already being dumped on by the rest of Auckland who seem to beleive that it is land “ripe” for devlopment and for dumping social housing.

    Perhaps this is another way to connect the god awful Stevenson heavy industrial area at Drury South and have them truck chemicals through residential areas. (Remember what happened on Waipuna Road)

  22. The days when we bulldoze people’s homes and rip up trees and bush to lay down asphalt highways to cater for commuters should be left in the past. The main problem lies with rush hour commuting traffic jams. In ten years time, who knows, we could see many more people working from home and a greater staggering of the rush hour…rendering multi-lane highways catering for peak time traffic obsolete. Congestion charging (for one person occupied cars) should be introduced and people should be encouraged to live closer to places of work or and rely more on public transport. Obviously for this to work, some of the money that would have been spent on highways would need to be spent improving public transport systems.

    1. “In ten years time, who knows, we could see many more people working from home and a greater staggering of the rush hour…”

      That has been prediced for literally decades and decades now. In fact, one of my favourite writers commented on this in the 1960s (the time of “Videophones will soon be in every home!”) and said that he considered it unlikely to ever happen. “Us monkey folks like to have personal contact”. And he was right…

      You are correct, though, Bill, that we need a lot more PT to deal with the rush hour. That’s where its most efficient – though we shouldn’t discount it for off-peak / more flexible travel either.

      1. “That has been prediced for literally decades and decades now” Too true…but with meaningful IT and internet advances, at least it is now feasible for many that part of the working day could be spent at home before heading to a communal office or appointments.

    1. There is already an alternative route. It just doesn’t need another almost motorway and to bowl houses just so you can pass through someone else’s neighbourhood faster. Holiday weekend. Stay off the roads. Simple.

    2. We actually came to live in a semi-rural area of Auckland. If you want Los Angeles or Shanghai concrete landscapes then move there! Just don’t expect it here. If you want to drive in a gas-guzzling, smog producing tin-box at peak times don’t expect carte-blanche to bulldoze our houses to create the multi-lane highways so that you can shave a few minutes off your travel times.

      1. Good on you for opposing it Bill but also, the only way we can keep your rural outlook is to intensify within the existing city.

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