Auckland Transport has had an on-again/off-again type relationship with the $170 million Reeves Rd flyover in Pakuranga. Yesterday they announced it was definitely back on again and sees them running back to the idea that before we can build any PT or cycling infrastructure, we must first build a massive road as compensation.

reeves-rd-flyover

Work will begin soon on the design and consenting for the Reeves Road flyover and Pakuranga to Botany busway in east Auckland.

The projects are part of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI), which is aimed at giving residents of the eastern suburbs better transport choices.

AMETI will deliver rapid, high frequency public transport between Panmure, Pakuranga and Botany. Roading improvements at traffic bottlenecks in Panmure and Pakuranga allow the busway to operate reliably and help manage growing traffic volumes.

The start of design and consenting work follows a comprehensive review of the timing of future Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) projects by Auckland Transport, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Council. It included more accurately modelling the traffic impacts and bus travel times on the main roads in the area.

The review concluded the best order for future AMETI projects to be built is:

  • Panmure to Pakuranga – busway, Panmure roundabout replacement, walking and cycling paths. AT recently lodged an application for consents for this stage, it is expected to be publicly notified by Auckland Council within the next few months.
  • Reeves Road flyover, Pakuranga town centre busway and bus station.
  • Pakuranga to Botany busway.

It also concluded that improvements may be needed on Pakuranga Road between Pakuranga and Highland Park to further improve bus journey times between Panmure and Howick.

Auckland Transport Group Manager Andrew Scoggins says this timing for construction will ensure journey times for both public transport and general traffic improve while the various stages are delivered.

“The Reeves Road flyover will not solve traffic congestion in the area. However it is highly effective at offering significant local congestion relief on the roads outside Pakuranga town centre. Shifting traffic off those roads allows the busway and cycle lanes to be built on them.

“Although the full busway could be opened first, the final evaluation of options showed it would create increased congestion for general traffic until the flyover is complete,” Mr Scoggins says.

The review also showed that the full busway between Panmure, Pakuranga and Botany, as well as the Reeves Road flyover, needs to be open by 2025 to minimise future increases in congestion. Current long term plan funding from Auckland Council would only allow for this full network by 2029.

It’s good to see them saying the busway needs to be completed all the way to Botany, and completed sooner than the current funding allows. As it is, AT have taken way too long just to lodge the consents for the busway from Panmure to Pakuranga – for which they currently don’t expect to start construction till 2021 going through to 2025. If they’re going to get the section from Pakuranga to Botany built within that timeframe too, then they’ll have to get cracking on designing the busway. Also welcome is the recognition that Pakuranga Rd needs to have bus lanes at least to Highand Park. I wonder if that’s a piece of work that could help congestion in the shorter term.

The same can’t be said for the flyover. The project has had quite an odd history. Back in February last year Auckland Transport surprised everyone by announcing that the $170 million flyover had been deferred, with the money they saved being used to advance the busway faster. One of the reasons they gave for this was that they realised, for the flyover to make any real difference, it would also require the grade separation of the intersections of the South Eastern Arterial with Waipuna Rd and Carbine Rd, effectively turning the route into a motorway. AT also cited the difficulties of consenting, which had only a few months prior seen the Basin Reserve flyover fail to get consent.

The deferring of the project led to politicians at both the national and local level, many of whom are not known for their support of PT projects, kicking off a frenzy of lobbying for the flyover to be built and built sooner. This included lobbying the government and NZTA to declare the road a State Highway, so it could get 100% NZTA funding.

Then a few months later in April, AT announced they’d made a mistake and that the board had never agreed to deferring the project and that deferring it was only one of a number of options. That meant the flyover was back on the table. This was definitely an odd turn of affairs. I will say that I later saw the board minutes from when the project was discussed, and that it’s correct that the board never approved deferring it but agreed to look into the options further.

That the project is now back on the agenda, and seemingly bring fast tracked, can most likely be put down as a win for political interference.

Reeves Rd Flyover

In an age where smart cities are rushing to tear down flyovers and replace them with better spaces for people, it’s absurd that we’re still trying to build one. At the very least they should be building the busway and seeing what actual impact it has before committing to this project.

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61 comments

  1. “So we have this town centre and it is supposed to grow to the south – I know lets build a thumping big overpass across it, that will make people want to be there. ” – the Vogons strike again.

  2. Anyone know if building the flyover as a tunnel has been considered and how much extra that would cost? I also think that the purpose of the flyover is to decongest the intersections of Te Rakau Drive with the South Eastern Highway/Reeves Road and Pakuranga Road, something I’m not sure the busway will have all that much impact on

    1. tunnel has been looked at, from memory cost is more but don’t know how they quantified or calculated any potential offset from increased above ground development opportunities

      1. Tunnels are very expensive, easily triple the cost if not much more. Also there is usually minimal opportunity to build over the top of them unless they are very deep, which this clearly wouldn’t be. Too many structural issues, fire risks, earthquake issues for it to stack up most of the time.

    1. …and because of that, it also makes the local streets in Botany and across much of eastern Auckland look a lot more difficult.

  3. This is an appalling project, and an even worse process; exactly the sort of political interference that the creation of AT was meant to prevent.

    In fact it is doubly bad: first because it is in itself a congestion creator; a doubling down on autodependency in an area suffering terribly from just that! And secondly because this is being pushed ahead with money that should be used to deliver the real transformation in movement here: the AMETI bus ways and buslanes.

    For 60 years now east AKL has had its Rapid Transit plans delayed, deleted, dumbed down, and dumped. So what have they got as a result; hugely clogged roads, no or minimal and poor quality alternatives to driving. All the classic ills of a monotonal transport offer. Now they’re getting more of it. More reason to avoid the place.

    Well, that would be fine for the rest of AKL, expect of course all this expensive place-ruiner will do is encourage more drivers to funnel onto the already clogged SH1, and, of course, just lead to calls by the same muppets for its endless extension as it instantly infarcts.

    Why does driving infrastructure failure lead to calls for more of it, yet PT success leads to the reverse, from the same old men? Madness.

    1. Pretty easy to plonk LR tracks along the busway in the future if needed. The problem with LR, is it would result in a 3-stage journey to the CBD for many who would not be close to the busway – Bus, LR and train from Panmure, whereas the busway allows buses to join it along the route.

  4. You all need to get out more. I’m working here in Sydney right now and Melbourne last week and traffic FLOWS. Auckland is the pits by comparison. Anything that makes traffic flow more freely is very welcome.

    1. I work in Sydney as well, although I don’t live in the centre (Burwood) and commute to one of the satelite centres for work (Liverpool), but like most of my peers, I don’t own a car, because there is decent public transport.

      How about we fix some missing bits to free up roads for productive tripsbefore we try inducing more flow?

      Also did you catch the train from the airport in Sydney to wherever you’re working or staying when you arrived, have you tried that in Auckland, you may well be waiting a decade or two.

    2. Well then I guess you were lucky. I’ve been in Sydney as well, and I can assure you traffic didn’t flow.

      What Sydney also has is a train network.

    3. No, anything that makes PEOPLE flow more freely is welcome. So we should do whatever we need to maximise that.

      Who cares about traffic, that’s just a bunch of cars. Are you similarly concerned about fridges and other inanimate appliances?

    4. I travel to Sydney for work too, and how the traffic flows barely affects me: I take the train from the airport directly to my hotel and then other trains to my location, or occasionally a taxi. Meh. Like so many Sydney-siders, only 14% of whom use a car to access the centre city in the morning peak.

      So, if the traffic flows so well in Sydney it’s because of all the people using other systems to get around. You want flowing traffic? Build a rail system, or some sort of parallel Transit system to free up the roads for the important freight, delivery, trade, and emergency traffic, and those others who really want to drive, just make the alternatives good enough for the rest of us to get out of your way.

      ‘Anything that makes traffic flow more freely is very welcome.’ Yes and that anything is not a stupid flyover between two points of congestion; it’s a proper spatially efficient alternative. In this case the AMETI Busway + bus lanes up the Pak Highway.

    5. Things always look more rosier when you’re visiting somewhere. Try living there. Traffic in Sydney is an absolute nightmare and just as bad or worse than Auckland (I’ve lived in both). Driving around on Saturday is almost like peak hour. If you’re staying around the city and not driving, you probably wont notice it but get out to the suburbs at peak hour and it can be hell. Melbourne is slightly better.

      In saying that, considering Sydney is 3 times Auckland’s population the traffic is reasonable for its size only because it has good/decent public transport system which Auckland lacks. Sydney actually has a small motorway network for its size.

      Seems it’s you who needs to get out more.

  5. These are the kinds of projects that south east Aucklanders forget about when they complain that they have no public transport. Can’t have it both ways…

  6. Surely if the problem is the conflicts caused by a 2 lane busway running through a 10 lane road the best solution is to tunnel the 2 lane busway under the one intersection that presents an issue rather than build a 700m long 6 lane flyover?

      1. So am I, but I am pointing out that if the transit project makes congestion for SOVs worse, and someone has decided that that is the problem, then the best solution to resolve that is the cheapest one that removes the conflict and also reduces busway delay significantly.

  7. Who gives a monkey’s if it causes congestion? – more people will use one busway than will use another road, and so more people will get through per hour.

    1. I find it difficult to understand why the planners seem to think that the plans to reduce carbon emissions will not affect the use of single occupancy vehicles.
      If they are right then we are not going to meet our planned emission reductions.
      Is there any work being done on this aspect of planning?

        1. So what are the planners saying about the changes to be made regarding the impacts of say Carbon Tax or even a revived ETS

  8. Looking at the suburbs around it, it probably is necessary. Worse still, more will be needed for every auto dependent suburb we plop down.

    If people want to live in these suburbs then they can have their expensive, ugly landscapes. Just makes the inner suburbs more and more valuable as in 10 years you’ll be mad to drive anywhere near downtown and their will be enough residents to fight back against roading projects whose sole purpose is making it easier for ‘outsiders’ to bring their stupid cars and park on high value land.

    1. The other solution is to not waste $153m worth of the rest of the region’s money and zone the surrounding area to fix the autodependence. We have zoned commercial out of these areas for years so should see a rapid response once the zoning is fixed and a busway goes in.

    2. If the daft denizens of Howick want this retrograde monstrosity at the expense of proven mass transit options, why should the rest of the region pay for it? Let their mouthy political representatives reach deep into their own pockets.

  9. that flyover cross-section is exciting to see, then you realise its a road, and not a light rail alternative … Common Auckland, lets get something like the Skytrain that Vancouver has!

    This just reminds me of the simpons episode where the monorail guy comes to town. Except the lobbyists to NZTA and AT are just chanting ‘motorways …. motorways’

  10. “Roading improvements at traffic bottlenecks in Panmure and Pakuranga allow the busway to operate reliably and help manage growing traffic volumes.”

    How does improving the adjacent road bottlenecks improve the busway reliability??

    1. The North Shore one took much longer. You would be amazed how many people can write feed off a simple project and keep it going for as long as possible.

    2. The oldest reference I have on my shelf is the 1998 draft Regional Land Transport Study which has the Northern Busway in it so that is 10 years prior to it opening. But I think it was in the 1988 Auckland Comprehensive Transportation Study Update done by the ARA in 1988 which is 20 years prior. That report had busways in the northern corridor and in the rail corridor alongside the southern motorway. Good things take time when the Vogons are involved.
      “There’s no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now. …

  11. I predict a vehicle tailback all the way from Pakuranga Rd to the beginning of the flyover.
    I predict also that regular drivers will get off before the flyover and try Ti Rakau Dr instead.
    I predict chaos in all directions.

    1. True.. and at the other end: can you imagine Carbine Road, Waipuna Road, Mt Wellington Highway etc.. not to mention SH1 with all the extra induced traffic?

  12. Heading eastbound this $170 million piece of concrete appears to drop traffic at a signalised intersection on Pakuranga Rd. I guess people will be able to enjoy the view as they sit in the queue heading home.

  13. This is exactly the outcome you would expect from AT’s set up. Someone has decreed that every project must attract NZTA funding. That means NZTA criteria dictate decision making and “viola” – motorways is your outcome.

    WE NEED TO GET NZTA OUT OF AUCKLAND DECISION MAKING. They are dinosaurs.

    1. Is SH1 God given to the Westerners? Perhaps we should toll everyone without discrimination in accordance with their time and place of use.

      1. and southerners and through traffic. The Easterners, through their complete lack of will to explore alternative transport modes, completely clog up SH1 at Mt Wellington.

  14. Where is the cost benefit of this $170M project which only has the net effect of eliminating 1 set of traffic lights?

    1. Is this the sort of thing to ask the AT organisation?
      Do you have anything available on the way you foresee changes being wrought to the single occupancy car numbers on the roads as result of effective Carbon Tax or Emissions Trading Scheme?
      What changes are anticipated in the next 10 years as a result of an effective ETS or Carbon Tax?

  15. What is the point of this ugly thing? It just looks like it duplicates the existing road. Whilst adding more intersections to the mix.

    Didn’t AT just say not so long ago that they were removing Reeves Rd Flyover from the mix?

  16. “In an age where smart cities are rushing to tear down flyovers and replace them with better spaces for people, it’s absurd that we’re still trying to build one”

    Unless it has driverless trains, busways, or cycleways on it, in which case we want flyovers galore. It’s not the physical infrastructure we really object to, it’s what it is used for that is important…..

    1. That’s fair enough – I guess the idea is that generally speaking a transit flyover will be far more efficient for the money spent than a traffic flyover, and might remove the need for similar expensive work elsewhere. Also, transit/active transport flyovers are so rare in comparison with the regular sort that they fade into the back of people’s minds.

      Noteworthy also that the major transit and cycling flyovers in Auckland (Lightpath, Northern Busway, Waterview etc) are all necessities because of horrific traffic infrastructure nearby, which has already done 98% of the place damage beforehand.

  17. This flyover appears to be a very expensive car park. Congestion at the Te Rakau intersection will be moved 300m to Pakuranga Road. Obviously wonderful value for money.
    How many years before local politicians happily fire the first demolition charge to knock it down again?
    While an at grade light rail line along Te Rakau Road is a possibility, this flyover will make construction of a light-rail flyover along the Te Rakau corridor very difficult. Getting light rail above all the Pakuranga intersections would make light rail much faster through this area. Good public transport will reduce car congestion much more effectively than building this eyesore.
    Why destroy the William Roberts area?
    Dumb, dumb idea.

  18. I occasionally use this intersection during the weekend. From what I’ve seen, the majority of traffic is:
    * Coming off the South-Eastern arterial and turning right onto Ti Rakau Dr (towards Botany and East Tamaki).
    * Heading south along Ti Rakau Dr and turning right onto the South-Eastern arterial.
    * Heading north along Ti Rakau Dr and turning left onto the Pakuranga Highway, towards Panmure.

    Admittedly this is unscientific and only looking at weekend traffic, but I do have to wonder if AT are actually looking at how the intersection is used. How will a flyover help when most of the traffic coming from the arterial is heading onto Ti Rakau Dr, rather than going across to Reeves Rd?

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