Auckland Transport are about to publicly notify the Northern section of the massive Redoubt Rd-Mill Rd Corridor project. This section of the corridor was estimated two years ago to cost up to $374 million and the recent draft 2015-18 Long Term Plan documents suggest the entire project all the way to Drury will cost around $800 million over the next 30 years. That’s a lot of money but seems unsurprising once you realise that AT are basically planning a mini motorway along the route. The road is said to be needed to cater for all of the greenfield growth that is expected to occur in the area.
AT are holding public open days tomorrow and Saturday about the project.
- 17 April 2015 – Westfield Manukau (centre court), 11am to 2pm.
- 8 April 2015 – Westfield Manukau (centre curt), 10am to 1pm.
They have however already published online the information they will be presenting to the public. Overall the main reason given for the project is to cater for up to 24,000 new dwellings and 6,000 jobs in and around the corridor as well as address the safety issues with the existing road that roads. They say that in the four years to 2013 there 293 crashes, four of which have sadly been fatal.
These are what AT say the features of the project are:
- 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 new wetlands areas
- Landscaping of the new road corridor.
I haven’t had a chance to go through the documents yet however I have had a look at the images provided and what I see scares me. It scares me because while the road may already exist, this project is more like starting from scratch as involves significant property purchase and widening. Yet despite that widening AT still appears to be short changing some modes along the route – in particular cycling. The examples below show the cross sections of parts along the route and you can see in places cycle lanes as narrow as 1.5m and with what appears to be only a narrow painted median to separate them from the traffic.
In my view, if we’re going to the trouble of buying houses to widen the road then we should be building worlds best practice right from the get go. And here are some impressions of what the completed roads will look like.
So what happens to the buses, they have to force their way back into traffic?
How many people are going to be brave enough to use that cycle lane sandwiched between lanes of traffic. Would you let your kids cycle on that?
Without protection those cycle lanes will see vehicles veer into the lane to save precious fractions of seconds by not having to slow down a little bit – much like a truck did to me a few days ago almost knocking me off my bike.
That roundabout looks horrific for anyone not in a car. How is a child or someone who can’t run fast meant to cross the two lanes of traffic on either side of the road.
Overall there are some improvements from what we traditionally see in at least there are some cycle lanes but in the end they seem so poor it’s more like they are to tick a box rather than being a serious part of the design. It’s clear even the designers don’t think their creation is safe as the length of the road they’ve also created a shared path on one side “for less confident cyclists”. If they were creating cycle lanes like have on Beach Rd (but on both sides of the road) then cyclists of all abilities would feel safe in them.
To make things worse it’s not just the road design that’s causing concern as locals are also worried about the proposed massive viaduct over bush
I’ll try to have a look into the NoR documents in the next few days but so far this project is expensive and seems to repeat many of the mistakes of the past. Come on AT, you can do better and if you wouldn’t let your kids ride on it alone then you’re not doing your job properly