Last week I talked about the NZTA holding some open days to their initial ideas for the Northern Motorway Projects. The projects consist of a number of components.

Northern Corridor Improvements

The NZTA have now put online the info they presented at the open days and some of their ideas are fairly horrific. I’m not entirely sure if they are deliberately so scary as part of negotiating tactic to get people to agree to some of the lesser ideas or if these are what the engineers actually want to build.

For the motorway the NZTA have four concepts which range from motorway to motorway ramps through to a replica spaghetti junction. All concepts will see Paul Matthews Rd linked in directly to Constellation Rd and the section of SH18 from Albany Highway to SH1 turned to full motorway standard. It also appears that the link from SH1 to SH18 will go under the existing motorway rather than over it. The south facing ramps would go over the top of the motorway however the NZTA are saying that will have to happen in a future project. In an email to reader Anthony O’Mera they say further work on SH1 south of the interchange (i.e. more widening), is needed before the south facing ramps could be added.

Northern Corridor NZTA reply to South Facing ramps

Concept 1 seems to be a simply adding of the motorway links and widening of the section between Greville Rd and Constellation. This would undoubtedly be the cheapest and the least disruptive of all of the options.

Northern Corridor Improvements Concept 1

Concept 2 takes concept 2 and takes it one step further by having a flying onramp from Albany Expressway to SH1 which I assume is take some of the traffic off the roundabouts.

Northern Corridor Improvements Concept 2

Concept 3 takes concept 2 and injects it with copious amounts of steroids. Added to the mix are weaved lanes so that Grevelle/Albany Expressway bound traffic doesn’t mix with traffic joining SH1 from SH18

Northern Corridor Improvements Concept 3

Concept 4 also has weaved lanes but drops the direct connection from Albany Expressway to SH1. It also drops the Greville Rd Northbound onramp.

Northern Corridor Improvements Concept 4

Of the options, concept 3 and 4 with their extra weaved lanes seem like they come from the same school of thinking that gives us four lane wide local roads that blow to 9+ lane intersections in a bid to cater for each type of movement separately. Further while the interchange designs themselves might be able to move more vehicles, would the local roads be able to cope with that extra influx of cars.

That leaves concepts 1 and 2 and concept 2 might have the upper hand once the northern busway extension is also taken into consideration. There are just two options for the extension of the busway with concept 1 likely to be the quickest and cheapest to build. It also matches with the outcome of the last study into the area where the busway should go (it suggested keeping it on the eastern side of the motorway with a bus bridge to access the station itself).

Northern Corridor Improvements Busway

The Busway Concept 2 might be quite useful as it also opens up the possibility of south Albany station which might come in very as the area develops over time.

The NZTA are now looking for feedback on their ideas before they progress them further however they haven’t said how long the feedback is open for so it would be best to get it in as soon as you can..

You can give us your feedback on these concepts by:

  1. Emailing us at northerncorridor@nz0ta.govt.nz
  2. Calling us on 0800 NCIPROJECT (080624 776)
  3. Writing to us at: Northern Corridor Project Team NZ Transport Agency Private bag 106602 Auckland 1143

One last thing, In all the images the NZTA refers to the Albany Expressway as SH17, perhaps they forgot they handed the road over to Auckland Transport a few years ago.

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29 comments

  1. What is this, 1996?

    More magical motorway thinking from the NZTA. Giving New Zealand’s money to Fulton-Hogan, $150m at a time.

  2. Hang on, the whole point of urban State Highways is to ‘relieve’ local arterials, not to supersize them up to m’way conditions. Leave Albany Highway out of it or it will just become an onramp.

    Highway Option 1 Busway Option 2, with new station on Corinthian; simple in-line station with no car parking. Ideally with bike lanes and cycle storage, and a bike/foot bridge over the motorway, which could all come later. Leave the park n ride for Albany.

    1. I think you’ve been had. Note how the busway crossing the motorway is actually integrated with the “SH17 flyover bridge” – so if you pick busway option 2, they have to go with Highway option 2 or 3.

      I pick Highway option 1, Busway option 1.

    1. CAA is meeting with NZTA next week to discuss what walking/cycling facilities can be incorporated. Watch our blog for more info.

      NZTA did try and argue that they weren’t required to provide walking/cycling infrastructure for Waterview and lost in Court. So it will be interesting to see how they handle this one. The big battle will be cycling infrastructure along SH1.

      Their website seems to say “tell us what walking and cycling features you would like for the project”. That may be their way of being able to say that it is still in concept and will be brought in later.

      In any submission, please do include your wish to see cycling/walking catered for.

  3. Do they have an numbers to help justify the solutions, or is it just a bunch of squiggles. How many vehicles go in each direction? What do they project? I had a look, but can’t seem to find any. Without numbers to back it up, surely status quo + buslane + cycle way is the best option.

  4. Bit of a narrow gap between buildings beside the motorway just south of Rosedale Rd. and not much room for a spaghetti junction multi-lane style of layout.

    I wonder if the commercial properties there have heard yet that they may be on borrowed time.

  5. What happened to the Greville Rd bus station?
    If that’s still planned, surely they would show that on all the options, but they don’t even have it on the bus lane concepts.

  6. I keep wondering what price of petroleum products are being used as part of the modelling for demand in different classes of road traffic and how sensitive private motor vehicles are in particular to rising fuel prices.

    As a follow on to Scott’s point about transit amenity, how will the prediction models be affected by better transit amenity and potential price fluctuations in fuel price.

    Not everything grows consistently for ever, road traffic volumes included.

  7. interesting how the new flyovers are pictured as green slender arcs when in reality they’ll be grey chunky monsters that cost millions to construct. The implication is that the new lanes will be free-flowing and traffic lights are bad barriers to economic activity that must be eliminated.

    1. Wait till you see the video, like the one for Waterview the flyovers will be transparent! So cool; if they really could make them out of perspex it would be worth doing; flying cars at last. As it is on the vid all you can really see are trees and cyclists…. not really a m’way interchange at all.

  8. One thing they need to do first, is convert that Albany offramp round-about into traffic light intersection.

    That round about is getting too much traffic now.

    Roundabout is not efficient at high traffic.

    1. Haven’t they already done that? I haven’t been to see it myself but I though they were doing the roundabout to traffic light switchover the other weekend when they had the closure. If not, it wouldn’t be more than a few months away I heard they wanted the whole thing including the 3-laning done by Christmas although the project website says April next year.

  9. I visited the Constellation Station display and then had a look at their options online before making a detailed submission to NZTA by email on Saturday. Already had a reply from them which is encouraging – at least they are reading the submissions. I believe the improvements must be taken from the angle of ensuring the busway is built at the same time despite funding not allocated for it yet. Hence my submission was along those lines. Options 1 or 2 for both the motorway and busway with option two being my overall preference for both. The busway needs to have a “Sunnynook Station” style station built for Rosedale, by the Rosedale overbridge. This will give access for cyclists, pedestrians and “kiss and ride” from a road which does not carry traffic heading directly to the motorway – in the same way as Sunnynook Station does.

    1. “The busway needs to have a “Sunnynook Station”… from a road which does not carry traffic heading directly to the motorway”

      That’s a good point, and it would improve access to the schools in the area (esp Rangitoto which is at top of Rosedale).

      I still feel that a small Greville station is needed, there’s a lot of houses and businesses that could feed into it with riders. Just a station with a load of bike parking and no road access would be great.

  10. Thanks for the summary Matt, and to all those who have added comments. I want to do a submission on this, and was going to argue for the “spaghetti” end of the spectrum because I was thinking it would be best to avoid creating even worse congestion (due to conflicting weaving manoeuvres) by separating the connections between SH 18 and SH1, SH17(?) and SH1, and SH17(?) and SH18, via separate carriageways (similar to concepts 3 and 4, although they don’t fully do that). Maintaining on/off ramp access to Greville Rd/Tawa Dr and Constellation Dr/Paul Matthews Rd complicates this. Every time I use this section of motorway, either by bus or by car, It seems to me that the traffic joining and leaving the motorway at these points is the cause of most of the congestion. Maybe these on/off ramps should be eliminated, and the land they occupy could be re-used for the connections between SH 18 and SH1, SH17(?) and SH1, and SH17(?) and SH18 – and for the Northern Busway extension. That might put some more pressure on the Albany Highway and East Coast Rd, but the traffic might be able to be more distributed and less concentrated at the approaches to these on/off ramps (which then backs-up approach roads to these points and causes area-wide traffic congestion). Does anyone have access to software that might be able to model this? Then concept 1 or 2 would be much more workable, as we wouldn’t have traffic from on/off ramps conflicting with motorway-to-motorway connections within a short distance, with all the associated merging and weaving manoeuvres that are bound to cause even worse congestion – which is surely what we want to avoid.

    Of course, I will be arguing that the Northern Busway extension should be part-and-parcel of the motorway works (I think it’s irresponsible to do it later), and hadn’t thought about a new station in the vicinity of Corinthian Dr or Rosedale Rd (or both) – that would really give people who live and work in those areas a real choice. If we eliminated the on/off ramps at Greville Rd/Tawa Dr and Constellation Dr/Paul Matthews Rd, then the bus (and associated walking and cycling to/from bus stations) would be a much better option than driving – reducing traffic congestion, rather than inducing it. The Rosedale basin area could become a TOD (Transit-Oriented Development), which would be a perfect fit with its aim of being a technology and innovation hub.

    I don’t expect the above will be popular, but I think it would avoid creating even worse congestion, and really boost public transport use as well. Feedback please.

  11. I like the idea. But any benefits they claim are completely bogus as they will continue to use the ramp signals to create congestion as they are now!

    1. What I’m suggesting is to eliminate the on/off ramps in this area, and thus the ramp signals would be eliminated also. That’s the only way I can see of reducing congestion in the area – for both motorway users and local road users, and bus station users (no more traffic jams on the way to Constellation Station).

  12. STOP PRESS! (?) – The front page of Tuesday’s (November 18, 2014) North Shore Times says the $250 million funding for the Northern Busway extension between Constellation Station and Albany Station is now back on the agenda as part of the Northern Corridor improvements project. Anyone know any more?

    1. Unfortunately I think a few people are getting confused over this. They assume because NZTA show busway plans that it’s back on the agenda but as far as I know it’s not. This is simply the NZTA working out where it will go so they know what other motorway planning they have to do.

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