Auckland Transport and the NZTA have announced another series of open days to discuss the East West Link. This time though they are presenting six options for what may be built which range from upgrades of local roads to potentially mega expensive new roads.

Community feedback is being sought on options identified by the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport to improve transport connections in the Onehunga – Penrose area and reliability of bus services between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park.

The Transport Agency’s spokesperson Brett Gliddon says the planned improvements are important to deliver a transport network that can continue to support the growing movement of people and goods.

“The East West Connections area is the engine room of New Zealand’s industrial and manufacturing economy and home to a number of our most vibrant communities. These improvements are needed to ensure that both the nation’s supply chains and the local transport network function effectively.”

“Public feedback to date has supported the need to address congestion and delays in the Onehunga-Penrose area, as well as improving bus services.

“No decision has been made about any of the options, and our first priority is to get feedback from the community before the project is developed further,” says Mr Gliddon.

The proposed options identify roading improvements and new cycle links on the north side of the Māngere inlet, along with some bus priority lanes between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park.

Auckland Transport’s Key Strategic Initiatives Project Director, Theunis Van Schalkwyk, says creating bus priority between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park will make bus journeys faster and more reliable.

“This is a key part of delivering a Frequent Network for public transport in the area and creates a better connection for people getting to work,” he says.

The options being considered for the Onehunga – Penrose area range from upgrading existing routes, through to new connections between the Southwestern and Southern Motorways (State Highways 20 and 1). Common to all options is the improvement of public transport between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park as well as improvements to walking and cycling facilities, including the Waikaraka cycleway.

To help explain the options and get people’s feedback, the Transport Agency and Auckland Transport are planning a series of community open days this month which will be supported by workshops on specific topics.

“We had great feedback from the community in July and August and we want this to continue with the options now being proposed. We will be using the next round of feedback to further develop and investigate the options in order to assist us in identifying the best option to progress to detailed design,” Mr Gliddon says.

Open days will be held at the following locations:

  • Saturday 11 October: Onehunga Primary School Hall, 122 Arthur Street, Onehunga (10am-1pm)
  • Thursday 16 October: Otahuhu College Sports Pavilion, 53 Mangere Road, Ōtāhuhu (opposite Otahuhu College) (3:30pm -7:30pm)
  • Sunday 19 October: Te Papapa Squash Club, Fergusson Park, Olea Road, Onehunga (1pm – 4pm)

There will also be a number of workshops on specific topics for people who would like to provide more detailed feedback. To find out more about the workshops go to www.nzta.govt.nz/east-west and email eastwest@nzta.govt.nz to register.

For more information on the options and to submit feedback, please visit the Transport Agency and Auckland Transport websites.

The East West Connections programme is one of four accelerated projects in Auckland identified by the Government to help ease congestion, support economic growth and improve safety.

In addition to East West Connections, the other projects relate to improvements on the Northern and Southern Motorways (SH1), and at the SH20A/Kirkbride Road intersection.

The key part are the options though. As mentioned above, regardless of what roading options are built all options will include upgrading the PT route between Mangere and Sylvia Park which is one of the routes confirmed in the New Network for South Auckland. They say this will entail

  • Provision of bus lanes along sections of the public transport route (for example Mt Wellington Highway, Walmsley Road, Massey Road)
  • Potential to have bus priority at intersections
  • Review of bus stop locations along the route
  • Potential to improve waling and cycling facilities along the road

EW Option - Bus-Priority 1

It’s great to see the PT route getting attention, the only possible concern is that in their bid to come across as being multi-modal are they putting a lot of money into this bus route at the expense of others in the area that might have higher needs for bus priority.

Onto the road options. One thing that immediately stood out for me was that every single option involved the NZTA further widening SH20 between Neilson St and Queenstown Rd. The motorway here was only just widened to three lanes each way as part of the Manukau Harbour Crossing project so how wide does the motorway here really have to be.

Option A

This is simply an upgrade of the existing roads with some localised widening and intersection upgrades. It seems like a good place to start by having the existing route optimised before embarking on some of the more expensive options below.

EW Option - Option A

Option B

This takes Option A by adding a set of south facing ramps going from Church St to SH1 with additional lanes on the motorway through to Princes St. This has the benefit of taking pressure off Gt South Rd and the Mt Wellington interchange.

EW Option - Option B

Option C

This is quite different to the above two options. Going from West to East it adds a new connection between Onehunga Harbour Rd and Galway St which presumably takes pressure off the Onehunga Mall/Neilson St intersection. The big change here though is a new road from Angle St through to Gt South Rd along with an upgrade of Sylvia Park Rd and new south facing ramps onto a widened motorway. I get the feeling that this or Option D is the preferred solution.

EW Option - Option C

Option D

This takes option C and adds an upgrade to the Glouscester Park interchange. The problem with this is the NZTA’s predecessors tried to upgrade this interchange as part of the Manukau Harbour Crossing project but were rejected consent to do so due to the damage to what remains of the volcanic cone

EW Option - Option D

Option E

This seems by far the worst of the options and involves building a road all the way along the foreshore which would likely have significant environmental impacts. At the eastern end the road plows through some commercial, likely on a flyover before joining SH1.

EW Option - Option E

Option F

I get the impression that perhaps the road planners/engineers see this the next step after building Option C/D. That means it’s likely that if one of those options are chosen then not long after we’ll see calls from trucking companies for this section to be completed too.

EW Option - Option F

There are some good aspects to most of these but also some horrific ones like the suggestion of blocking off the whole Northern edge of the Mangere Inlet.

One of the huge advantages to Option A in particular is it would allow AT to get some improvements into the area quickly and see the impact they have while it refines the options to see if they improve. Personally I think Option B is the best option for the time being but in saying that there are some good sections from some of the other options, for example the connection between Onehunga Harbour Rd and Galway St.

Overall these options are a vast improvement on some of the earlier ones, some of which would have seen many homes demolished to make way for motorway from the Airport to the eastern suburbs.

If you live in the area (or even if you don’t) I’d suggest popping along and giving your thoughts.

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42 comments

  1. No price tags? Hard to provide informed feedback if we don’t know how much of our rates and taxes are proposed to be spent on the different proposals.

    Start with Option A in any case. With the Galway connection.

    1. Let’s just start with Option A. Cheap and quite probably effective. Buy some green paint and get spraying, with a few nice TRUCK LANE signs too. Then wait a couple of years to see how it works.

  2. Note that Option E also will take down residental housing on Panama Rd based off that diagram there. Going right up to the bridge where the connection is suggested.

  3. Clearly to improve south facing connection to the motorway system for Neilson St businesses and take pressure off Onehunga Mall retail and living then a direct south facing connection from Neilson through Galway and onto Mangere bridge would be the most direct. It is nowhere in these options. I guess we have to conclude that NZTA doesn’t believe their engineers are capable of building a merging lane onto the bridge? I agree it would be tricky, it would require a separate structure with a very long flexible joint at road surface. But I have seen the huge moving seismic joints on the Wellington Motorway system and struggle to see this connection as impossible. Any engineers out there care to comment, obviously this isn’t my area of expertise? Concerned about slowing flow with a connection there [it’s already four lanes!]. Expense?, never seems to to affect their plans, frankly the motorway system is awash with money for capital works, unlike everything else.

    Additionally, would kill the planners at NZTA to include likely, or even just possible, future rail routes in their planning? The ‘T’ in their name is for Transport after all. In their tarmac infused heads they may like to believe that the network is merely a historic artefact to be got over or pillaged but even they can’t reasonably deny that both the continuation and expansion of the passenger line through Onehunga and Mangere is planned and desired by many, and the expansion of track through the Westfield junction is needed to meet growing freight and passenger demand.

    1. Maybe even put the rail in as part of all this? They could build this ramp and string the rail line at the same time to at least a Mangere Bridge station…

  4. I really wish the NZTA would…

    I’m not going to say it. I do like that they are providing options, but it seems that they are extremely interested in the most expensive options. Their default is a motorway, the movement of cars and trucks like water or electrons through channels.

    Oh for a change of Government and proper reform of this 1960s agency.

  5. My preferred option is the Galway St element of Option C only (diverting most traffic to Galway St, leaving Onehunga Mall free for more bus movements), with option B for the rest of the project.

    I would also suggest continuing the Mangere Bridge northbound bus lane along the Onehunga offramp (similar to the bus lane following the Esmonde Rd offramp over on the Shore), and around Onehunga Mall, right up to the Mall/Neilson St intersection. Presently the bus lane merges with traffic before the ramp. This would stop the New Network route 30 (Airport Link) being caught in significant delays around this area.

    Or, with the Galway St extension in mind, divert all northbound traffic onto that, and make Onehunga Mall northbound between the Galway St intersection and Neilson St bus-only or no-right-turn at Neilson.

    Hm, might have to get along to the last open day.

    1. Oh, and have all the additional lanes proposed as 3.5T+ Truck-only lanes so truckies can remain happy when the other lane fills up with cars, so they don’t start demanding yet another lane.

      1. Bus priority for the new route 30 is a very good idea. Only problem with the Galway St link is that it could preclude the rail extension over the bridge to the airport. With the NZTA we have now, they would not spend a cent to leave space for rail (witness their plans for SH20A by the airport). Major danger there.

        Totally agree however that additional lanes need to be for trucks only (they can in fact be painted along a large stretch of Neilson St right now with minimal problems). If road freight is such an issue, then start by give them space where it is easily available, rather than building motorways that will soon become clogged with SOVs.

        1. Agree. Remove the parking on Nielson Street and get the green paint out. 4 lanes, 2 of which are for trucks and the occasional bus.

          1. Indeed. I can’t believe that no one at the NZTA has pointed out (at least openly) that it is madness to have on-street parking on a major through road that according to the NZTA has major congestion problems. It makes no sense at all.

            Parking out, truck lanes in. Then let’s see if there really is a problem.

    2. Yep, that is the sensible solution, though for some reason NZTA can’t see the way to offer an option with workable improvements to the Onehunga end without building a motorway at the Penrose end.

  6. Couple of thoughts from living/biking/driving around this area.
    1. Onehunga Harbour Drive is a rush-hour traffic jam, the offramp backed up from the Neilson St/Onehunga Mall intersection, and the onramp at the entry lights (I’ve once taken 20 minutes to drive just this distance, and never used that route again). The connection to Galway St seems a reasonable option, although the intersection that would make with Onehunga Mall may be just as congesting depending on where the traffic is actually going.
    2. Ending the current cycle path at Hugo Johnston Drive is near-pointless. Having a link across the railway (to either Sylvia Park Rd or Bell Ave) would increase the usefulness of that route. Options C-F all give that as a side benefit. (Even better would be a harbour edge path that connects right around to Favona Rd, with a number of side connections, but that’s for another day).
    3. The worst option would be the harbour edge road in E/F. The problem is Waikaraka Cemetery, but if that could be “made to go away”, I would be quite happy with an option that connected Sylvia Park Rd to Onehunga Harbour Drive, with a ~100m buffer to the cycle path and harbour edge – at about the level of Miami Parade (what an inappropriate name for an industrial street!). I would love to see then a public boulevard developed in that land in between, which could include things like artificial pools/beaches (say like Brisbane has done along the riverside), beach volleyball/tennis/general sports grounds, playgrounds, then further leisure development. The connection is pretty good (motorway at either end, trains to Onehunga or Westfield, cycling), the question would be whether it would attract use, but there’s certainly a fair number of people along there at weekends now as it is. However, the cemetery is a problem I don’t see an answer for.

    So my preference for now would be option C, but only if option F is ruled out as a later addition.

  7. For people living in the howick/pakaranga area who use south eastern highway, option B is preferred.

    Option C to F provides no connection to the 16 motorway via south eastern highway.

    Option A is not preferred as it will create a huge bottleneck near the motorway on ramp from south eastern highway to motorway 1.

    1. I strongly against option C-F as they excluded people living in the East. So This is really not a EAST WEST connection.

      I propose another option, which is based on D, but with a new connection from south eastern highway to south bound motoway 1, which can join the EAST WEST connection.

        1. Although they call it east-west its focus is to get trucks easily onto the southern , and co next the I dustrial areas. It’s not about helping commuters drive from east Auckland to west auckland, nor cyclists nor bus users. The bus priority has just been tagged in to this. It’s not closely related to it except at the Mt Wellington motorway interchange.

          1. Of course it isn’t. If they called it the ‘trucking lobby special package’, which is what it is, it would sound much less appealing. No one should be under any illusions what this is about.

      1. Oh the irony:

        “Too often major projects in New Zealand are developed in a piecemeal fashion and modified and reduced to satisfy environmental and local interests without adequate consideration of strategic implications or the relative cost of lost accessibility and reduced economic efficiency.”

        You mean like every PT project ever? Welcome to the world transport and urban advocates live in every day, trucking lobby.

        I will translate that for you from media speak to what the trucking lobby actually wants to say: “We know best and you peons just need to get out of our way so we can increase our profits through a massive subsidy from your taxes.” Makes much more sense now.

  8. Oh god. Oh dear lord.

    I just realised that if any of the motorway-like solutions are put in place, they will then create a huge “imperative” for NZTA to build a motorway-like road from Sylvia Park Rd to AMETI. And then put even more pressure on to build motorway-like solutions through Pakuranga.

    It literally never stops. The NZTA will never think ‘we’ve built enough motorway, we can stop for 5 or 10 years’.

  9. Option A first.. then monitor the outcomes. And if that could defer capital $$$ for C-F for long enough (woudl not have to be too many years), it would be self-funding.

    Then quite likely option B.. which could deliver some very useful improvements to truck / car / cycling movements irrespective of any future new roads.

    But why no option B2 with the Onehunga Harbour Road > Galway (or for that matter with Patrick’s more challenging but entirely logical and surely do-able Galway > ONR)?

    Equally, why no cycle link north along Hugo Johnson to GSR and SEART in options C/D.. pennies.

  10. E/F are the worst ideas because they take out the excellent walkway/cycleway between the power station and Mangere Bridge

    1. Walking and cycling links are irrelevant to the NZTA, this government and the trucking lobby. Walking and cycling links would be unnoticed collateral damage.

  11. The better option would be to stop transhipping all the rail freight at a single location (Southdown), and instead transship from Wiri, Southdown, Tamaki and Henderson. That way the hundreds of truck movements are spread more evenly over the region, removing the need for the new road.

  12. I prefer C and D as they provide connectivity and new routes without making major motorways. Also join up the cycleway at the eastern end. It’s a new smaller ‘tributary’ to help filter and spread the traffic, instead of concentrating it.

  13. So which option is future proofed against 1 to 4 metre rise in sea level in the next 100 years or so plus any storm surge?

  14. It is disappointing that NZTA is so silent on the inputs/outcomes arising from the July round of the public consultation process. A summary of the feedback received from the community and how this has been responded to in the new proposed options would be an indication that NZTA is actually engaging rather than just going through the motions. It would be far more meaningful and productive to engage in the next round of consultation knowing what issues the community actually raised in July? Am I dreaming. Probably. I agree with Kelvin in that we need to get the East connection sorted or provided for in the long term. What is the interface between these options and for example AMETI. Under most of the options I predict a further increase in congestion at Mount Wellington Highway through Sylvia Park on that Section of SH1 and through the South Eastern interchange with SH1 – but what do the traffic models say? Please everyone keep “driving” he PT train to airport option (thanks Patrick) and the pedestrian and cycle agendas to achieve better urban design and environmental outcomes for our city and for future generations.

  15. Went to the open day at the Te Papapa Squash Club this afternoon. The NZTA people there were very pleasant and happy to talk, but vague about many details. However they did have the following definite points to say.

    Re bus priority
    1. One reason it was presented with east-west connections was because NZTA is funding some of the bus priority work, another was that the crossover of the green route with SH20 and the (almost) meeting with SH1 are busy areas (there were others but this was the most memorable)
    2. The investigation only extends as far as what can be done without any property purchasing.

    From 2. alone we can clearly see (in case there was any doubt) what NZTA’s priorities are.

    (continues)

    1. Re east-west connections
      1. All of the options (including the Galway St options) will preserve the possibility of rail over the harbour.
      2. Their modelling shows that Option A will not do enough to solve the problems they have identified
      3. Their costings are only rough at this stage. Detailed costings (that could be taken to Treasury) have not been done for any of the options
      4. Based on these, the best value for money (best BCRs) options are likely to be C or D
      5. (discussed in a different order, so no connection with 4. above to be inferred) only one option will be selected for detailed costing and presented for public feedback. The timeline for this is likely to be around the end of this year. One reason given for this was not wasting money on detailed costings of many different options.

      Regardless of the merits of the various options, 5. concerns me from a public policy perspective. It smacks of NZTA promoting only its preferred outcome and pushing it through.

      Did anyone else go to the open days? Any more interesting info gained there?

  16. Just completed 3 evenings of workshops on details of these options:

    Mondays workshop did the Onehunga and foreshore
    Tuesdays did the Onehunga interchanges (Gloucester park mainly) with Galway
    Wednesdays did the eastern end/Motorway junctions

    The outcome of all 3 is that Options C (or D) is probably the best compromise solution all round. But I got the feeling that this is not likely.
    Its probably the Big Kahuna option (Option E).

    D-F all trash the Gloucester park crater even more. Guy from the Volcanic Cones Society was pretty down on any plans to do anything there given the track/history of previous attempts.
    Option E also trashes the Panama road community who were there en-masse on Wednesday night and *very* upset about their “green belt” being turned into roading maybe.

    Onehunga Business Assoc. and co made it pretty clear that they prefer option E as they think NZTA/AT will fully remediate the foreshore at no cost to them (remove asbestos and the like) – like the Tui ads says “Yeah right”.
    But they can dream I suppose.

    Indicative costs of the 6 options are:

    A: $100m
    B. $130+m
    C: $500-600m
    D: $600-700m
    E: $1B+
    F: $1B+

    Waterview is the big unknown here, they know it will have an impact, but how much is anyones guess.

    My takes:

    Option A does nothing much at either end of the link but tidies up Neilson/Church.

    Option B if A plus puts a very nasty pair of south facing viaducts/flyovers in front of Hamlins Hill all the way from SEART/SH1 on-ramps to after Mt Wellington on/off ramps on SH1 and really ruins Hamlins Hill for good i nthe process.

    Options C,D & F link to SH1 south of Mt Wellington Highway near Tip-Top corner and will require a widened SH1 between it and Princess St interchange and use a widened Sylvia Park Road (to 4 lanes)..
    Option C uses local roads for the western end and a road to Sylvia Park Road and does some redesign of the Onehunga Mall/Neilson St intersection using Galway St.
    Option D is Option C plus adds a flyover into Gloucester park.

    Option E puts a pair of south facing only on/off ramps at Panama Road (more or less) as well the motorway across the foreshore to Onehunga and really is a motorway in drag.
    Option F is Option D with a variant of the flyover/intercange at Gloucester park.

    Supposedly rail designations are fully protected in all designs, of course no plans to move any of these forward.

    All I can suggest is that you all submit using the online link (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/improved-connections) on which option(s) you prefer – even a simple I prefer option X because it does X Y and Z and the others don’t is a good idea.

    Option E is the most dangerous of all as it leads to a logical harbour crossing direct from SH1/Panama Road area across the Tamaki River to Highbrook, which was pretty much confirmed as what the truckies all want now. anyway.

    Timeframes are preferred solution for public consultation 1st quarter next year, then off the AT/NZTA boards and the minister for the rubber stamp.

  17. I’ve found myself in the unenviable position of recently moving to Panama Rd and only finding out about option E yesterday… Having missed all the workshops I was wondering if there is any residents group that has been established to opose this? I will obviously submit some written feedback.

    1. Hi Nick,
      The group that was present on Wednesdays meeting called themselves the “Panama Parrots”, all lived at the western end of Panama Road and many were down ROw’s with back sections that faced the green belt between the residential and the factories (where apparently the gas main ans water main is located and where Option E will run through or nearby).

      They said they’d be having a community meeting this coming week about it all, so perhaps if you do some door knocking west of the motorway along the northern side of the Panama Road you can introduce yourself and find out when and where its happening?

      If you do find out when and where it is, can you post it here?

  18. Okay, These option E & F is big question about Waikaraka Cemetery (Map image: https://www.google.co.nz/maps/@-36.9300942,174.7967801,1184m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en )

    Also, I looking all options is hard question, However you will images these option will grew to 20 vehicles per 10 seconds on each lane, when open a new road. I don’t think, it will worse congestion traffic at other road.

    I been drive this between Pakuranga and Onehunga road in many times. So, I believe vehicles have trouble congestion for let to access to motorway from Neilson St. to Avondale.

    I think my idea planning
    OPTION G
    from Neilson Street turn to Alfred Street (or Victoria St) make new road on single way into Onehunga Harbour Road. Because Traffic light show Green Left arrow light on was stuck. Who front vehicle sat on left lane for ahead way been wait for green light.

    OPTION H
    At inspection traffic light (between Neilson Street and Onehunga Mall) need change paint mark “Left turn only at left lane at Traffic light

    OPTION I
    At inspection traffic light (between Neilson Street and Onehunga Mall) If Rail is no longer under the bridge, Maybe remove old bridge make flat road and extra more lane, Because heavy truck fedup with over bridge while traffic control by stuck traffic against option G & H

    What do you think ?

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