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.

Future housing in the Redoubt Rd Mill Rd 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.

Mill Rd - Crashes

These are what AT say the features of the project are:

Project features

  • 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.

Cross Sections

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?

Mill Rd - Totara Park
Motorway to Totara Park
Murphys Road
Totara Park (Hilltop Road)

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?

Mill Rd - Murphys Rd Bush
Murphys Road
Mill Rd - Totara Park - Ranfurly Rd
Murphys Road/Murphys Bush

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.

Totara park to North of Ranfurly road
Totara Park to north of Ranfurly Road

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.

Mill Rd - Totara Park - Alfriston School Roundabout
North of Ranfurly Road to Alfriston School

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

Mill Rd - Viaduct

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

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53 comments

  1. How do we oppose this. It looks like they are going to build over totara park. It will totally ruin the experience of taking a bush walk there. It is a lovely part of manurewa but now they are going to ruin it.

  2. Incredible how the money flows whenever it’s a project to build a new motorway or intersection such as this. Where’s the 800 million to stop anyone else on a bike dying in Auckland? Instead AT plans to cut the entire measly 10 million a year budget altogether.

    Safety upgrades and a busway with cycling facilities would probably remove the need for this road all together. I’m confident when riding a bike but I wouldn’t go near these on road lanes or attempt to get through that intersection in anything but a car.

    1. I don’t like this plan, but it’s not “complete” overkill. The roads that are being addressed are ALREADY operating in excess of 120% of capacity.

        1. No its quite simple. Roads are designed with ‘x’ capacity and flow. When that is exceeded the percentage goes above 100. Most main routes in Auckland are over subscribed, that is when instead of buzzing along at 80 to 100k, we suffer gridlock, i.e. that piece of road can no longer do what it was designed to do. That is why we need to look at all submissions from the public on how to improve these choked roads. Traffic engineers can only come up with ideas to further stifle flow such as onramp traffic lights etc. They have no outside-the-box thinking going on. Keep presenting ideas and maybe one day the ‘engineers’ will realize that the people stuck on those routes can often come up with low or no-cost improvements – which make it better for ALL forms of transport.

          1. On-ramp lights don’t stifle flow, they smooth it and make everyone go faster. At very little cost. It is exactly the sort of counter-inutitve thinking that you claim to be supporting.

  3. There are 2 existing transport corridors there already but AT seem to have missed them entirely. Like they don’t exist.

  4. Pretty dumb timing from Auckland Transport as they try to convince Aucklanders to spend more money on transport as part of the LTP/RLTP. If this is what we get for the extra money I don’t think we’re interested!

  5. Yay, get rid of Totara Park and create the great Totara Highway! I don’t know why they bother. They are building for peak demand and the motorways are all stuffed anyway.

  6. 10,000 new homes may sound like a lot, average occupancy in Auckland is 2.7 [IIRC] so 27,000 new souls to move around. The area that AT is calling the ‘Void’, as in Rapid Transit void, the old tram built suburbs on the Isthmus, easily has 150,000 people. No mini motorways there, some very busy bus routes that deserve upgrading and huge sweeps of lovely leafy housing connected to local schools, shops, and employment, and not all separated by mandated auto-dependency.

    They’re planning, designing, and investing in overly dispersed auto-dependent unhappy valleys on the edge of this city- and we’re paying through the nose for it!

    1. That’s $30,000 per property. In capex costs.. of the road alone, not counting the cost of lost amenity (Totara Park etc).

      Plus massive ongoing maintenance costs no doubt.

      Plus the costs of all those extra car km, causing more RTAs probably, not less, pumping out noxious fumes and burning FFs.

      The costs of sprawl…

      1. For what it’s worth, here’s the relevant section of Auckland Council’s Development Contributions policy: http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Plans/LongTermPlan/VolumeThree/section_s1342067701178.html

        As you can see, the total DC per house is around ~$22,000. Transport accounts for a mere $3,520 of that.

        Assuming that AC doesn’t try to recover additional costs from developers, this amounts to a ~$26,500 per house subsidy from ONE PROJECT ALONE.

          1. Bet they’ll be as consistent as their randian buddies in Welli’s Taxpayer’s Onion. Consistently in favour of whatever stance serves the interests of righties at the time, that is.

  7. It would be useful to see the reasons for the crashes over the last 4 years. If a significant proportion is due to speed, then widening the road is surely the worst thing one could do?

    Why not just move the kerb out given the entire road is being rebuilt so that the cycle lane is protected? It wouldn’t cost a cent more for the majority of the route. Once done that forces you to look at the intersections from that different perspective and will necessarily lead to improvements.

    1. Ben it’s got to be locally led. The MOTAT trees are in my area, I left the Titirangitangs to fight that one out. This is down your way, go join the people making a stand. Just remember to fight not just to save the bush but also to get much better road design than this.

      1. It has become a local led fight Patrick with community groups getting involved and the Manurewa Local Board making their displeasure well known.

        However, we are up against AT being slow and Southern Ward Councillors who are supportive of this project (the northern end).

        Thus while the South is gearing up we will need regional help as well to demonstrate to Auckland Transport and the Auckland Development Committee that these de-facto motorways are both not acceptable and run against The World’s Most Liveable City mantra.

  8. They need to have a look at how many cyclists use the brand new cycle lanes on the new link between Mt Wellington Highway and Morrin Rd ( The tunnel road under Ellerslie Panmure Hway ). I have seen NONE using it when I or my wife have used it. All the money spent on it has been a total waste. This shows to me that there has been no increase in cycling out East anyway. This will be like the crl, a total waste of money for only a few who may benefit. It’s not going to be the holy grail like Brown thinks or those voices in his head tell him.

    1. If you’re worried about wasting money, how do you feel about 10,000 SHA houses getting tens of thousands of dollars in ratepayer subsidies? The cost of this project, which serves those houses, is $374 million dollars, or over $30,000 per house. Auckland Council only collects $3,520 in transport-related development contributions from new subdivisions.

      You’re helping pay for the rest!

  9. So, one of the justifications for this obscenity of a scheme is four deaths. All transport-related deaths are tragic, but this design is almost guaranteed to ensure there’ll be a lot more of them. And on the basis that a death translates into AT action I very much look forward to it urgently starting design and tendering for a scheme to grade separate the rail network immediately. A shockingly designed scheme exacerbated by a transparently ridiculous rationale and promoted by those who obviously believe, for reasons best known to themselves, that the construction of motorways (for this is what it is) should carry on regardless of the environmental and social impacts.

  10. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11429076

    “Opponents of a $470 million-plus highway through southern Auckland say engineers are ignoring potentially disastrous effects on a premier park.

    Papakura resident Robin Harger, a retired United Nations ecologist, has alarmed Auckland Council members with advice that upper gullies of Manurewa’s 216ha Totara Park have already suffered “a massive dieback” of bush after a far smaller roading upgrade 15 years ago altered water flows.

    He says that killed a large number of mature totara trees in their namesake park, and left gullies lined with dead ponga trunks.”

  11. It is hard to tell from the maps above, but in what degree does all this spending help connect the new housing areas to the stations on the Rapid Transit Corridor?

    Or is it just about encouraging private vehicle growth?

    What we feed grows.

  12. Auckland Transport have gone over the top with pedestrian crossings. Oops..no wait, there’s bugger all if any. Pedestrians STILL don’t count with our AT road planners.

  13. It does seem to be quite stupid to be building a new road from scratch with on-road cycle lanes. Either make the road a little narrower with off road cycle lanes, or make the road an extra metre wider and put in protection a la barrier/kerb. I personally don’t like traffic lights however on a big road like this that has bus/cycle lanes having roundabouts is just stupid.
    While they are at it if they do end up separating cycle lanes from the road then make the road 60km/h! If there aren’t cyclist’s on it then there is no need to make it 50km/h since it is an arterial road and has a median strip. This will also speed things up for buses.

  14. For at at least half the cost of this it looks like AT could have rail electrification to Pukekohe and new stations at Drury and Wesley. I’d like to see the assessment of alternatives for this project. Also worth pointing out NZTA have fast tracked motorway improvements at Takanini, which runs parallel to this.

    http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2012/11/20/pukekohe-electrification-the-case-for-another-station-or-three/

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/auckland-southern-corridor/index.html?r=1

  15. Just like this cycleway, the Panmure cycle route was created to tick a box. If it went anywhere, if it was connected to the train station, if it was useful, then it would be well used.

  16. Google Mr Harger and you will see his interesting books. Aliens building Atlantis, Tarot in the promotion of self-enlightenment, The spiritual nature of crystals, one step to enlightenment, healing through the higher self …………….. The list goes on and shows you something about him.

  17. what problem is this project seeking to address? AT seem to have identified two key issues, namely 1) safety and 2) growth.

    $300 million seems a lot to spend on safety issues which, as others note, could be addressed more cost-effectively. And in terms of growth 10,000 households is not actually very much in the context of a city like Auckland that is growing by *50,000 households per year*. But is more growth planned further south which this may help cater for …

    There is a genuine problem in this area due to the fact that the street network is disconnected, both by natural and man-made barriers. General conclusion: There’s definitely some issues to be solved in this part of the transport network, but there’s a need for proposals to address strategic issues and deliver value-for-money. Not sure this does either?

  18. What I see there is a good ol’ motorway, just like the southern/north-western/northern motorways once were, start off a mini highway but the opportunity remains to go crazy and turn it into a full blown monster motorway, $$$$$. However its,a prime opportunity to get serious about rapid mass public transport in the form of connecting this to the Manukau Branch of the railway network. Pigs flying is much more likely of course!

  19. They could be at least installing rail stations in Drury and Wesley to cater for the growth in these areas first, with bus feeding into them.

    And once they upgrade the southern motorway to 3 lanes through to Papakura that will ease the Takanini pinch point.

    Can’t believe they used an out of date map for this; not even the Manukau Rail Spur is on the map and the SH1/16 connection looks only proposed.

  20. **Safer Journeys – high risk intersections guide***
    “Roundabouts are potentially one of the more Safe System compliant intersection forms …. with the exception of vulnerable road users, particularly cyclists”

    So why in 2015 do we have a new road layout design that includes cycle lanes and double lane roundabouts on the same road. Somebody ticking the cycling infrastructure boxes without any consideration for safety maybe?

    Hard to believe this is considered acceptable road design.

    1. It would be more than acceptable if the roundabout has traffic lights so pedrestrains and cyclists could cross. However if the roundabout isn’t three lanes, then traffic could get quite bad. Personally, I would prefer that the cycle lanes be at footpath level

      1. Traffic engineers have kittens over raised tables for pedestrians, let alone cyclists. Let nothing impede the mighty flow of the only unit they recognise.

    2. “Roundabouts are potentially one of the more Safe System compliant intersection forms …. with the exception of vulnerable road users, particularly cyclists”

      Beautifully Kafka-esque. “Its safe, except for those who are vulnerable already”. Trading off safety.

      (I submitted to them when they produced this document, making exactly that safety point – good it got in, but ironic to see it worded like this).

  21. Just what South East Auckland needs – another sprawl-induced pseudo motorway that’s virtually impassable on foot and pays lip-service to anything other than cars. This will go nicely with Te Irirangi Drive, the Howick-Pak Highway, Ti Rakau Drive et al. Glad we sold the house on Redoubt Road a couple of years ago.

  22. Hi there, I’ve got a few questions here,

    What would be the speed limit on this road? I’m guessing 60-70
    Is there any way to not build the viaduct, i.e. widen the existing Mill Road?
    Could something like this be done on section 1A? http://streetmix.net/-/224124
    Could something like this be done on Section 3A? http://streetmix.net/-/224125 Note for both examples, the cycle lane is at footpath level.
    Could the roundabout be changed into a traffic light?

    This kind of road is quite normal for an arterial road in the middle and outer suburbs in Melbourne, however they are four to eight lane wide + median (rather than 4+median), and have double/triple turning lanes at major intersections. Cycling amnesties would (obviously) be on a parallel residential street.

  23. What happens as it passes through Papakura. I visualise it separating the Red Hill area fro Papakura and all those east of it having a hard job walking/cycling to school/rail station by this US style urban arterial where the multi lane roading isolates sections of the town and virtually the only safe way to get out of an area to the adjoining one is to drive. These areas in Papakura do not have a lot of two car families.
    One economic reason not mentioned is the Winstones quarry at Drury is becoming less significant as source of Auckland’s aggregate. There are now significant volumes coming out of Hunua, Ardmore, Clevedon and these units are travelling this route in ever increasing numbers. The substrate in much of this route is not good. Prior to the road transport deregulation, the roads in the Clevedon valley were classed for max 5 tons per axle. Now they carry whatever the RUC the truck sticker says. This where the greatest road trans port subsidy has been in recent years.
    I agree that the design is deficient and would like to ensure that I don’t miss the opportunity to make submissions on it, so please let us all know if submissions will be called for prior to May 15th.

  24. This has been in the planning stage for years. Have not read the finer details, but it looks a bit like the teIrirangi botany motorway. Lived in Papakura all my life, left three years ago to the shore and dread going to Papakura on the southern motorway during the week. It is the only route heading south out of Auckland. What brain came up with the interchange at manukau where 5 lanes merge into 2 at manurewa, it’s a disgrace. It’s a lot of money but if we were not paying for a city train loop and other Brownwaves we would have a bit more in the bank. It is only delaying the inevitable. Maybe put a $20 surcharge on every non resident coming into the country, then they might take the time to learn about our roads and driving.

    1. Trish you say that “the southern motorway.. is the only route heading south out of Auckland”. But there are two routes: the motorway and the railway.

      The southern motorway carries around 1,200 people per hour per lane, say 2,500 per hour through the 2-lane part.

      A railway, on the other hand, can carry 20-25,000 people per hour. Ten 2-lane motorways!!

      But the capacity of the southern railway line (all the way to Papakura) is severely constrained by the fact that the tracks end in a cul-de-sac at Britomart. The CRL transforms that situation, unlocking the potential of more than a 6-lane motorway. Just by digging a 3 km tunnel and all for $ 1.5 bn or so.

      The southern railway corridor has to be a contender for the most under-exploited piece of infrastructure real estate in NZ.

      Even if your particular trip doesn’t lend itself to travelling by rail, the fact is the CRL will substitute countless car journey between Papakura and Swanson.. all without building a single km of road anywhere in the region.

  25. Land must be free down there. 5m berm, 3m shared path and cycle lanes- wtf? Is that to cater for those who like to rude on footpaths and those who want cycle lanes as well? Why not widen and put in a bridle path on each side as well?

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