While it emerged the other day that AT are looking to cut back on rail to the airport due to it’s cost, a day later they announce they are seeking a designation for a $300 million mini highway through currently rural south Auckland. The need for the road is claimed to be the huge amount of greenfield development expected to occur in the area in the next few decades.
A route has been identified for the upgrade of the Redoubt and Mill Road corridor, which is needed to support large housing growth in the area.
Traffic is predicted to double on the route in 10 to 15 years due to the growth. More than 22,000 new homes are proposed for the area, about 10,000 are in special housing areas that are likely to be fast-tracked.
Auckland Transport has identified the route for the upgrade of the Redoubt Road-Mill Road corridor and applied to Auckland Council to designate land (Notices of Requirement) for the project.
The council is expected to publicly notify the Notices of Requirement (NoR) for the designation in early 2015, with a hearing before independent commissioners to follow.
Auckland Transport Project Director Theunis van Schalkwyk says the project is driven by significant growth planned for the area and to improve the roads’ poor safety record.
“Congestion is already affecting Redoubt Road and Mill Road. The large number of new houses leads to traffic doubling in 10 to 15 years, meaning the road won’t cope without a major upgrade.
“Between 2009 and 2013 there were 283 crashes, including four deaths, with a number of accident hotspots on curves and junctions. The upgrade will improve the alignment to the safety standard required on an arterial route.
“With growth happening quickly in the area we need to give certainty to both existing and future property owners what land is needed for the upgrade. New housing areas can then be built knowing where the transport infrastructure to support it will be.
Mr van Schalkwyk says a number of route options have been investigated, consulted upon and evaluated before the final route was confirmed, with an independent environmental assessment a key factor.
The assessment recommended a number of mitigation measures to minimise impacts.
The route includes 23m high viaducts at Puhinui Creek gully and a 17m high viaduct at South Mill Road gully above native bush to minimise impacts. The project also includes about 30,000 sqm of native planting, stream restoration, wetlands created, pest eradication and environmental monitoring during and after construction.
Auckland Transport has contacted affected property owners directly about the project and is meeting with them to discuss their land owner rights and the planning process. The upgrade will need future purchase of 54 full properties and 257 partial properties, for example part of a driveway or frontages.
- Redoubt Road widened to two lanes in each direction between State Highway One and Murphys Road
- Westbound bus lane along Hollyford Drive and Redoubt Road towards Manukau.
- On road cycle lanes on both sides and an off road cycle and foot path for the length of the upgrade.
- Replacement of the existing Mill Road with a new arterial with two lanes in each direction between Murphys Road and Popes Road.
- Murphys Road widened to two lanes in each direction between Flat Bush School Road and Redoubt Road.
- Murphys/Redoubt Road intersection realigned and traffic lights added to improve safety.
- 17m and 23m high viaducts at Puhinui Creek gully and South Mill Road gully above native bush.
- Widened footpaths on both sides of Redoubt, Mill and Murphys roads with pedestrian crossings at key intersections.
- Replacement planting and stream restoration.
- Improved stormwater facilities, including wetlands areas.
- Landscaping of the new road corridor.
Here’s a video of the route.
This is a massive project that has an almost mini motorway feel to it and it highlights just how much greenfield growth is possibly going to occur in the area. We regularly get told by those pushing for more greenfield growth that developers cover the cost of new infrastructure however this project is a great example that this is simply incorrect. In reality they only pay for some localised infrastructure and it’s left to tax/ratepayers have to pick up the tab for mega projects like this.
On to the project itself and the designs they’ve come up with are hugely disappointing and show either AT, the designers or both are still stuck in a time warp. Despite the fact that they’re basically building a brand new road, facilities for those not in a car are extremely substandard. For example to cater for walking and cycling it is proposed to build both on road cycle lanes that vary in width between 1.5 and 2m, and a shared path. Instead AT should be moving straight to proper protected cycle lanes with the footpaths left to those walking. Of course the biggest problem with that is it would mean they might have to cut into the 3m of space being set aside for a median and hell would have to freeze over before they even considered such a change. Making the cycle lanes sage is going to be really important as this mini motorway looks like it’s only going to encourage people to speed.
Here’s a few examples of what they’re proposing for the road (click to enlarge).
Redoubt Rd/Murphys Rd Intersection
As you can see massive 4 lane road proposed which splays out to even more lanes at the intersection of Murphys Rd.
Mill Rd/Alfriston Rd
A big multi-lane roundabout, ugh. That won’t be fun for people in a car or on a bike.
And some of the cross sections
Overall this project seems like it’s straight out of the bad old days and was previously said to be needed to help ease pressure on the motorway. However now we know the government are about to widen the southern motorway in the area increasing its capacity which likely reduces the need for such a massive upgrade.