On Friday afternoon, Newstalk ZB reported, and followed up by the Herald yesterday that the Waterview Tunnels will have lights to control traffic both accessing the tunnels and on the connection out of the tunnels onto SH16 eastbound.

Auckland’s new Waterview Tunnel will speed up travel times, but motorists will have to wait in queues at traffic lights to enter it.

The tunnel connecting the North Western and South Western motorways will open in April, creating the Western Ring Route around the city.

Ramp signals will operate on both of the ramps into the tunnel, and on the longer east-bound tramps out of the tunnel.

But motorists turning west out of the tunnel won’t have to wait at signal lights, so queues of traffic are unlikely to build up inside it.

Signals will also operate on the other side of the tunnel, like at the on-ramp at Maioro Street.

New Zealand Transport Agency Auckland highway manager Brett Gliddon said the signals will be able to control traffic through the tunnel in both directions.

Delays caused by traffic signals will be offset by major improvements to travel times and traffic flows.

While this is the first time this has appeared in the media, it isn’t new entirely new as in September last year we revealed that the NZTA had underestimated traffic demand for the Waterview Connection and were undertaking a series measures to try and mitigate the traffic volumes they now expect will occur after opening. These mitigation works included ramp signals as well as emergency widening of some sections of motorway.

What’s interested me the most has been some of the comments from the NZTA in relation to all of this. First up:

Mr Gliddon said completing the connection will allow more cars to travel on motorways, and reduce the number of cars on local roads

If the intention is to reduce the number of cars on local roads then it’s important that the NZTA and Auckland Transport capitalise on that by refocusing them on supporting local movements. That means prioritising walking, cycling, public transport and local access instead of a focus on pumping as many cars along them as possible. Given Waterview has been under construction since 2011, there’s been plenty of time to prepare for this, so surely AT and the NZTA have plans to do this?

Unfortunately, it seems that other than bus lanes on Great North Rd, there are no other changes in this direction planned for local roads, and in fact some of their proposed emergency mitigation was in direct conflict with this, for example AT wanted to put bus lanes citybound on Blockhouse Bay Rd but the NZTA want it kept car focused as an “incident diversion route”.

Next we have:

“It is not a means of removing congestion altogether, especially in peak periods, which is no different to other major cities across the world.”

In many ways this is a very significant statement, like an addict admitting they have a problem, the NZTA have taken the first step by admitting that roads will still be congested, especially at peak times. This is of course a positive first step towards getting a more balanced transport system but it doesn’t do anything to make up for the fact that the NZTA let a golden opportunity to provide people with a genuine option to opt out of congestion, in the form of full busway along SH16. While they have built some bus lanes, they are inadequate, stopping at interchanges and already suffering from being clogged up with vehicles in places. Not building a full busway is a massive failure from all of our transport institutions, especially as ATAP recently recognised that the first parts of it will be needed within a decade, meaning the diggers will need to back in just a few years.

It’s also worth pointing out old project documents like this one that claims Waterview will “relieve congestion“. It also notes that it will reduce traffic on Maioro Rd by 20%, yet as part of the emergency mitigation one of the actions was to ask AT to make changes to increase “off ramp discharge capacity” – in other words to pump more traffic down there.

You don’t have to be a traffic engineer to realise that if SH16 is already clogged every morning towards the city that adding two lanes of traffic from tunnels isn’t going to work well.

These claims of relieving congestion come from a long line of similar type comments from the agency and politicians, including Steven Joyce and others claiming numerous times that Waterview was the “last link” in the Western Ring Route, only to announce the Northern Corridor project just a few years later.

Following on from the initial articles, including the herald’s somewhat alarmist title of “Warning: Waterview tunnel will open to gridlock“, the NZTA issued a press release about it yesterday. It’s quite unusual to get press releases on a Sunday which makes me think some senior managers and/or politicians were not happy. In it, they defended the project and called some of the reporting “misleading”.

Ramp signals at Waterview one way of optimising traffic flows across motorway network

The NZ Transport Agency says ramp signals are just one tool to optimise traffic flow and ensure the safe and smooth running of the entire Auckland motorway network.

Ramp signals similar to those already operating where State Highway 20 joins State Highway 1 will help to regulate traffic flow on both ramps leading in the Waterview Tunnel and the east-bound ramp out of the tunnel.

“Like all the other ramp signals on the motorway network, they will only operate when there’s a need to optimise traffic flow, that could in reality mean they are used very infrequently,” says Brett Gliddon the Transport Agency’s Auckland Highway Manager.

“We don’t expect this to lead to significant queues and headlines suggesting the ramp signals will create gridlock are misleading.”

I found it particularly odd that of all ramp lights around the motorway network they chose to highlight the SH20 to SH1 ramp signals. If you recall that too was promised to be a free flowing connection but the NZTA had to put signals on it after it caused massive congestion on SH1 when it opened.

A new $220 million Auckland link road designed to take the pressure off State Highway 1 is having the opposite effect, forcing transport bosses to install traffic lights to ease congestion.

Ramp signals will be erected to give traffic travelling south along SH1 a chance against motorists muscling their way on to the road from the Southwestern Motorway at Manukau.

The signals are expected to be running within three months, at a point that was originally intended to be a seamless connection.

A recent post implementation review found that some of this issue came from not properly assessing the impacts the project would have which is notable because the emergency mitigation being undertaken only came about due to a new traffic assessment as these issues or other works weren’t identified in the reports used to obtain consent.

Ultimately the issue isn’t about whether the project has ramp signals or not but how these mega road projects are sold and communicated to the public. If our institutions were more honest about the what the real impacts of these mega projects were, it would likely change how many of these projects are viewed.

Now NZTA, when are you getting started on that busway?

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81 comments

  1. Great post Matt. What’s the point of building highways to get traffic off local roads if you can’t capitalize on the road space that is freed up?

    As you note, it seems to undermine many of the benefits of Waterview that NZTA claimed in the consent hearing. If they’re going to play such silly games perhaps we need commissioners to attach conditions to future resource consents that *explicitly restrict* NZTA’s ability to oppose initiatives to reallocate local road space after the fact.

    Merits of the Waterview project aside, there is evidence that installing traffic signals to manage traffic flow in advance of bottlenecks — thereby avoiding hypercongestion — can be beneficial, in that you can achieve higher speeds for the same vehicle flow. That’s the whole premise behind ramp metering. So installing traffic signals to manage vehicle flows around bottlenecks is probably something I support, in general.

    1. Yes. This all comes back to the strange way our transport institutions and policies deal, or rather don’t deal, with the fact of induced traffic. It does get mentioned but regardless new roads are assumed to ‘relieve’ the same amount of traffic there would be without them being built. This is almost never the case (especially in cities- duplicating a rural road is a different matter), after all why build it if it won’t attract use!? And sure enough the supporting documents for this project claimed a 7-8% growth in driving form current PT and Active users (a good thing, really?) but also, unconvincingly, a similar reduction in traffic on surrounding local roads. No, roads around exists and entries will swell with users, and worse, rat-runners when it clogs. If the inner NW (16) is bad in am peak (queues all the way to Spaghetti Junction?) then Pt Chev roads will be inundated…. interesting times for the business-as-usual crowd in our transport institutions.

      1. Personally, I think what all this highlights is simply that we need GPS road pricing: If we had it, the many of these vexing issues would disappear.

        On that front, it’s encouraging to read in the Herald that National is open to road pricing. At the moment one feels that transport policy in Auckland / New Zealand is a case of three steps forward and two steps backwards.

        1. Yes, Stu, there’s a clear understanding about that. But how much is a city-wide Rapid Transit Network a prerequisite for road pricing? Certainly for its political acceptability, as well as its equitably functioning…?

          1. political acceptability is not my area of expertise, so I think I’ll pass on answering that question. I also feel like political acceptability is subjective and, in the medium run, endogenously determined by the nature of the policy development process. If you look at controversial policy issues, such as capital gains taxes, marijuana decriminalization, and superannuation reform etc, then you find that what is considered “politically acceptable” shifts quite a lot over time.

            In terms of the second question, a rapid transit network is definitely not required for equity reasons. Equitable outcomes could be achieved simply by reinvesting the revenue in ways that are more progressive than the incidence of the revenue burden.

            Basically, if you find that road pricing costs the average low-income Auckland household $1000 per annum, then make sure those households get at least that amount back once the revenue has been applied. You could do that, for example, by lowering UAGC and other relatively regressive charges.

          2. There’s lots of other ways to implement road pricing that don’t require RTN either.

            You could, for example, initially make GPS road pricing mandatory for all commercial vehicles.

        2. Agree, I think the arrival of electric vehicles is coming sooner than people thought and the Govt, rightly, needs a new way of filling their tax coffers as fuel excise returns diminish. But if you’re essentially going to price people off the road, then I agree with Patrick that you need attractive PT options. I’m a National voter and I drive along the NW every morning and a) am completely comfortable with a GPS distance-based road pricing system and b) are strongly in favour of a NW busway (as the end game for me would be using an express bus to get into the city). I think National are a little out of touch with their Auckland base sometimes…

          1. what if you used some of the revenue to compensate affected low-income drivers? Is PT then a pre-requisite? And no matter how much PT we build, there will still be low income households that are disaffected by road pricing. Should we just ignore effects on these households? Stiff nipples away you go etc?

            In my view, arguing that we need PT options before road pricing is:
            1) illogical, because you can use some of the revenue to compensate affected drivers and leave them no worse off; and
            2) inconsistent, because low income households will be negatively affected regardless.

          2. A potential problem with road pricing is the bad interaction between road pricing, and a “drive ’till you qualify” housing market. From looking around, my impression is that anything even remotely affordable is also unreachable without a car.

            Probably we need a better way to deal with that interaction than just wishing it away.

          3. The current lack of levy on electric vehicles is a temporary thing. Once the uptake is properly established and they become less of a niche, RUC will simply be applied as it is to Diesel and LPG. I don’t think it has any bearing on congestion charging.

        1. Ramp signals are installed from Oteha Valley Road in the north and Hobsonville Road in the west to Papakura in the south but how many bottle necks are there actually? Some of these ramp signals are on more than they are off even though when they were installed we were told they would only operate in peak time. The Papakura signals for example restricts the flow into the Takanini bottle neck (had the $50M spent on the Papakura interchange a few years ago been spent on the Takanini interchange it would not be as bigger problem) but there is far more traffic from Drury (no ramp signals as it is out side the official Auckland metro area) and south than from Papakura, of all the times the ramp signals have been left off in the morning peak the overall travel time appears quicker (it is defiantly not slower). These stay on creating their artificial bottle neck well after the motorway is flowing at normal speed.

          Ramp signals had there national test at Rimu Road Mangere prior to the new Mangere bridge being built, Rimu Road is not even a typical diamond interchange.

          1. all those locations you mention will be used by vehicles that are feeding into bottlenecks closer to the city. Makes perfect sense.

            of course other vehicles will be caught up that aren’t affecting the bottlenecks, so there’s a trade-off between managing bottlenecks and collateral damage. That’s why you don’t see ramp meters at places like Bombay and Pokeno (last itme I looked). But Papakura is very much part of the city.

          2. If there are no ramp signals at on-ramps further out then there will be more traffic passing through intersections closer to the city, which means less traffic will be able to enter at places such as Ellerslie. However, if ramp signals are installed at say Papakura then they impact on people getting on who are going to get off well before they get to Ellerslie. This is a fundamental flaw with ramp signals and motorways in general at peak, makes me pleased I catch the train to work.

          3. Oteha Valley Road is obvious; the lights moderate traffic flows into the merge at the Greville Road off ramp and at the Greville Road on ramp.

  2. The great news is that this is the functional completion of the great Auckland urban motorway project. It is good to have SH20 and SH1 connected, and the city, at last, to get the bypass proposed by the designers of this network in the 1960s. That it comes last, and without the complementary Rapid Transit Network also proposed, and understood as necessary to its efficient and effective functioning, will be shown to be a mistake.

    It is interesting too that NZTA initially proposed no city facing ramps from 20 here, emphasising their aim for it to function primarily as a city bypass, not as a city connection. They were over-ruled at the political level IIRC, so any dysfunction caused by SH16, 20, and Great North Rd traffic all meeting here and being directed at the inner SH16 and the singularity of the AKL m’way system: Spaghetti Junction, will be telling.

    1. That was my understanding too. The Waterview connection would have no city facing ramps and be just a bypass road, as well as a South Auckland to West Auckland connection. Who exactly, when (I think around 2008) and why decided to add the city facing ramps. Was it to relieve congestion on Dominion Road or something?

      1. The minister at the time Steven Joyce, claiming that it’s all about driving to the airport. Which is a particular obsession of his, and of course is something politicians do a lot (or rather get driven). and, ironically will probably is something I will probably use this route for, but only because of the absense of a quality Rapid Transit route there.

      2. There were two options for connecting to SH16: One parallel to Oakley Creek and another down the Rosebank Peninsula. If you only wanted west-facing ramps then the peninsula option would be shorter and require less tunneling (it would be harsher on the estuary though). The Waterview route was chosen because it gave a continuous motorway connection from the airport to the CBD and lower North Shore.

        I can see a few more billion dollar lanes being proposed soon for the inner SH!^. On the bright side, when they have to re-do the St Lukes Rd interchange to address the catastrophic weaving problem there, you might get that cycleway underpass built too!

    2. Some weird submitter at the time also wanted to add Point Chev ramps facing into the tunnel. I don’t remember who he was, but he did pay expert witnesses to argue his case.

      1. When I moved to Pt Chev in 2010 we all thought great. Now we won’t have to drive to Maioro St now we can enter and exit at Warerview. Most people around me were really pissed off when they learned that there was not going to be any on / off ramps at Waterview and we would have to go via Western Springs about 5 ~ 6 Km round trip or still go via the city streets about 6.5 Km all because the NIMBYs wanted the tunnel to go as close the Waterview as possible.. As at Mid January I don’t live in Auckland any longer so it’s only relevant when I come back once a month to work..

    1. Can you imagine life without motorways? It would be terrible as transport would clog up all the residential streets. Congestion in Auckland is a result of population growth and the availability of cheap cars. It is not because of the motorway systems themselves.

      1. No one is suggesting not having motorways. The problem is only building motorways in a city; then they don’t even work on their own terms. Build the complementary alternatives to urban motorways in cities and then the motorways will actually work effectively and more efficiently. And do not need to be so expensively and place-ruinously over-sized.

        What we have in AKL now is a city largely built on rural transport model. Those who are surprised at criticism of this project or fears about its success, most likely don’t understand that cities and the countryside require different systems to function.

        Hope ATAP can fix this.

      2. Perhaps we would have built far more resilient alternatives and now we’d have a network of trams / LRT / Rail / busways / cycleways / 30kmh streets with motorways connecting to other regions?

      3. It’s funny because I’m sure “roading” in 20, 50 and 100 years will be very different.

        “Don’t blame the roads, blame the /cheap/ cars”?? Or maybe “don’t blame the cars, blame the /cheap/ roads.” 😉

        Fundamental if there are no options, then people are forced to drive. Particularly since the economics of residential costs are worse in Auckland at the moment, the ability to live close to where you work or study is not a given. Blaming the problem on the /cheap/ cars is like blame people for living.

      4. I’m not sure if Unicyclist’s tongue is stuck firmly in his/her cheek, or in someone else’s, but the following comment made me laugh and wonder: “Can you imagine life without motorways? It would be terrible as transport would clog up all the residential streets.” Actually, I can imagine life without motorways very well, and can recall that cities without motorways seem to do just fine. Many of the great cities in Europe don’t have motorways running through them – and the ones that do are trying to limit them.

        You might want to read this: http://gizmodo.com/6-freeway-removals-that-changed-their-cities-forever-1548314937

  3. I think coming from the West and places like New Windsor it’ll prove a real boon for people who currently have to go a long way to enter the motorway network. But traffic is so bad already that I think Waterview will simply move the traffic situation from “catastrophic” to “schlerotic”.

    If you ask me, the money would have been better spent on building light rail down Dominion road and, funnily enough, lightrail linking Te Atatu to a Glen Eden rail interchange.

    1. or a busway linking City – Pt Chev – Te Atatu – Lincoln Rd – Westgate.

      Probably cost about one-third of Waterview and/or LRT.

      1. Problem with a busway along the NW now is that NZTA have pushed the causeway rebuild as far north as they were allowed which means any construction needs to be on the south side, which means tearing up the cycleway again. Also, there is no corridor width left between Te Atatu and Lincoln Road unless we tear out even more dwellngs. LRT might be expensive but elevating it above the motorway appears to be a solution that has been forced onto Auckland, unless we’re happy to tear up a whole lot more of West Auckland.

  4. We have spent generations of borrowed money on this obscenity and because it is so flawed there has to be traffic lights mid motorway to control traffic flows?????? Un-fucking-believable. Hey Stephen Joyce, did you know your baby that is motorways are not supposed to have traffic lights as part of their foundation principal? This pet project by the Nats proves yet again those idiots could not run a piss up in a brewery.

    And forget bus lanes until they are voted out!

  5. It was always going to be congested at peak times such as heading to the city in the AM peak. I expect the inbound tunnel to be standstill , but as a whole it is a great addition. It will reduce congestion on local roads and just have everyone sitting on the motorway instead. Off peak it will be great.

    1. Ari, you are too optimistic about local roads; the m’way gridlock will create massive rat running. These huge urban highways generate driving trips which almost all start and end on local roads (98% is MoT figure). More driving = more traffic everywhere. Congestion will not be contained on the new macadam!

        1. Not quite; local roads is everything that isn’t a state highway. A surprising number of trips begin or end on a state highway. Any trip to the port or airport for example.

      1. Yep – on behalf of my kids getting to schools in the area, I am petrified at what’s about to come pouring out through the inner-west. The people in our office (Freemans Bay) who live outer-west (Blockhouse Bay / Avondale / Titirangi) already swear by avoiding Spaghetti and Nelson, and instead wander through Meola / Motions / Bullock Track / Richmond Rd, making it a total sewer around the school run. Let’s add another two lanes heading east, and see how much overflow starts vomiting out through Gt North and St Lukes offramps in a couple of weeks. Le sigh…

  6. New Zealand. The only country in the world who can’t design a motorway interchange and has to put traffic lights on them. We have never ;earned from the 4 lane Auckland harbor Bridge have we..

    1. Totally agree with your comment.

      It was interesting on Prime last night ‘Making of New Zealand’ documentary, made the comment that the proposed city to North Shore tunnel could end up having similar problems when the harbour bridge was built about the lack of future proofing the bridge for the growth on the North Shore. It seems, that the Waterview Connection fell into the same mind set on estimating the potential future traffic that would used the Waterview Connection.

    2. You don’t understand. Ramp signals are actually the epitome of car-centric “effectiveness”, not a failure in thinking. They are designed to keep the *motorway* network operating at peak efficiency, to keep traffic flowing *on the motorway* for as long as possible. Where other countries have the motorways turned into big parking lots, in NZ that gets pushed (to a larger degree than elsewhere) onto local roads.

  7. If this does indeed come to pass, then every single person involved in the scoping/design (not the actual build) of this project should be sacked/blackballed

    If it doesn’t achieve its stated benefits, then it is indeed an entire and total waste of $$$, and that is beyond terrible.

    I had high hopes for Waterview.

    1. Exactly, is there any other industry where people, who repeatedly dismally fail to do their job, can remain faceless and unaccountable for their failures? What makes NZTA such an organisation and why does the govt continue to tolerate this incompetence?
      And the lunacy continues as NZTA pushes through with the East West link.
      Are there any politicians with the balls to do something about this madness?

      1. Look up the word “Golden parachute”. It’s pretty much any industry you care to name, as long as you are highly placed enough. Getting sacked is for the woman who complains about her boss harassing her, or for the surplus-to-requirements-after-a-project staffer who doesn’t have important friends. CEOs and higher managers are immune.

  8. I don’t understand this tunnel ventilation business. As I understand it, if traffic is at a standstill in the tunnels, then we risk the worst inadvertent mass gassing of friendlies since the wind inconveniently dropped at Ypres in 1915. The solution then is to put traffic lights in to ensure the tunnels always run freely. BUT what happens if there is a breakdown or a crash at the tunnel exit at rush hour? Will the nation’s journalists have the grim task of learning how to write “mass asphyxiation” without using spell check?

  9. SH16 is already at standstill in the morning, adding 2 extra full traffic lanes from the tunnel won’t help. The bus shoulders do help, but much bigger issue is somewhere else – all the roads leading to SH16 – Te Atatu Rd, Lincoln Rd (and Triangle Rd), Royal Rd – have absolutely zero bus priority. AT has been tearing up Te Atatu Rd (in Te Atatu Sth) for the last year but the new layout has almost no bus priority either. The buses take longer and longer to actually get onto the motorway. Any disruption on the motorway and the backlog on the local roads halts all the buses as well. Living out that way starts feeling like there is basically no hope for any improvement. To add insult to injury AT just keeps padding the timetable more, so the bus is never late, but a trip that used to take 35 mins now takes 50 min.

    1. Timetables should be realistic as they are primarily about indicating to passengers when a bus will arrive, not for measuring performance. However, AT needs to be held accountable to some sort of performance measure on bus timetable slippage.

      1. Realistic? On a bad day the bus is 10 mins early (but that was discussed somewhere else already).

        I’m not sure how AT can expect anyone to use their service (and sadly this is reflected in the patronage) when 10km trip is scheduled to take 40 minutes – that’s 15 km/h.

  10. There was a great little doco on Prime last night – called New Zealand Builds or something like that – showing old footage of the Auckland Harbour bridge getting built. Funded by NZonAir so it may be available online somewhere, but it was great to watch – just how badly they misunderestimated the induced traffic. Very popular and overcrowded from day 1. Main difference of course is that if you are stuck in a jam on a bridge, you can look at the view. In a tunnel, with several thousand other cars, all with engines running, you’re going to have a shit of a time…

  11. You have to question who the numptie was that thought merging 3 lanes of SH1 and 2 lanes of SH20 into the 2 lanes of SH1 just past Manukau would work. Just plain stupid really.

  12. I’m not sure why this is only coming to light now. Being on site during construction April last year, we were told that that they were going to have lights. The reason for it was that the tunnel airflow and exhaust systems were designed with a minimum traffic speed of 40kph. If traffic speeds fell below this the tunnels weren’t going to be able to vent correctly. This was always part of the design of the tunnels.

    1. So what are the implications here? Mass training of Aucklanders in terms of actions to take upon breakdowns or gridlock within the tunnels? (mandatory gas masks, leaving cars if stuck in the tunnels for more than x amount of time)?

      This seems insane to me.

      1. In less than 2 months we’ll see 🙂

        I wonder how that’s going to work when there’s an incident inside the tunnel:
        1. No lane changes allowed (is this even enforceable?)
        2. No shoulder to push the vehicle onto

        Will NZTA close the entry to the tunnel every time there is an accident there?

        1. Looking at the latest project update there looks like there’s a decent shoulder on both sides http://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/projects/waterview-connection/project-update-2017-feb.pdf

          If everyone understood the difference between the three types of white lines then we’ll probably be fine. I’m still yet to have a day where a don’t see someone crossing a solid white, or being caught out of on a disappearing lane when there’s been 400m of short dash white though.

          1. My understanding was that solid white lines had the same legal standing as dashed white lines, and that the only line that legally restricted lane changing or overtaking was a yellow line. I could be wrong though and be further proving your point!

          2. I can’t see the shoulder there, an evacuation lane on the right, up a steep curb, yes, but no shoulder on either side.

          3. I was under the same impression about solid white lines. I was unable to find anything in the official NZTA road code website, which is a problem. However if you look at http://www.aa.co.nz/cars/ask-an-expert/legal-advice/show/3772/ , and in particular the third reply by user “cscrjcoles”, it appears that NZTA considers there is no difference between solid white lines and dashed white lines. It would probably help if designers were applying lines the same way that other officials and users are considering them. In addition it would be really helpful if all road users had the same understanding of the different line types, which is difficult when the road code doesn’t appear to provide guidance on this issue.

            As a note, it is illegal to cross a solid white line in the UK, at least some Canadian Provinces, at least some states in Australia, and some US states (for instance it is legal in California to cross the white line as it is not mentioned in the California Vehicle Code, and the California Department of Transportation’s traffic manual, the state’s official guide to proper driving behavior, says that while “crossing the line is discouraged”).

          4. The road code (at least those web pages online) appears to be quite informal and often ambiguous and incomplete.

            Note that disappearing lanes aren’t usually marked with different kind of dashes ¹. Auxiliary lanes are, but people get caught out just the same.

            There’s currently solid white lines in the Victoria Park tunnel, with a no lane changing restriction as well. IMO it would be more useful to make lights mandatory in tunnels.

            ¹ see for example: https://www.google.com/maps/@-36.7528555,174.7278743,3a,75y,329.03h,71.8t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sDTUTCiMBNyHxHowSMTVIwg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

      2. I’m not actually sure. We we’re told by one of the PR people running the IPENZ tour. I actually wondered about it at the time, thought it might have just been justification for the lights. Would be interesting to view the design reports and see when they cropped up and what the justification for them was.

        However, from the latest photos the shoulders seem to be sufficient to move small accidents onto. And I guess if a major accident happens that brings cars to a halt they’ll tell everyone to turn cars off. Not sure what could be done for a one/two lane closure.

  13. I thought part of the point of having a motorway was there would be no traffic lights? Also are the ramp signals at SH20/SH! in Manukau going to removed when the motorway widening project is completed?

    1. Wouldn’t count on it. You know what bureaucrats are like. Once they have control they never let go. By the way does anyone know what the final cost of these money wasting onramp lights have cost. First it was $35 mil, them went up to $75 mil but I never heard of a current figure..

  14. Absolutely nothing to do with this subject and at risk of sounding like a bus spotting geek, Birkenhead Transport have their first Double Decker on the road.

    1. Can’t see the point of double deckers. Sure their foot print is small but they would be a dog for loading and unloading. The artics would have been better..

  15. NZTA are really trying to have their cake and eat it too. On the one hand, they say Waterview will reduce traffic on local roads. On the other, they say the ramp signals won’t be needed much because they’ll encourage the “use of alternative routes.”

  16. I’m late to this party but I detect the contributing traffic engineers are so far strangely silent. Would like to hear their viewpoint on the benefits of this $1.4 bn+ project.

    1. The benefits are all outside of the peak. Possibly outweighed by the disbenefits it causes during the peak….
      Not all cars are heading to the city either. It just helps cars get around easier without using local roads.
      It completes the motorway network and we shouldn’t build any more of it.

  17. Well if the benefits aren’t being realised and the project leads to far more congestion on the motorway and/ or local roads or other adverse externalities, Auckland Council have an obligation to review the conditions of consent under the RMA. Section 128(1)(c) of the RMA states in reviewing conditions of consent … “if the information made available to the consent authority by the applicant for the consent for the purposes of the application contained inaccuracies which materially influenced the decision made on the application and the effects of the exercise of the consent are such that it is necessary to apply more appropriate conditions.” If it ends ups being a disaster I would expect Council to seriously pursue this, it would certainly encourage any consent applicants to apply far more scrutiny to source of evidence such as modelling results.

  18. The only positive with these lights are they can turn them off and on when required, so I assume in off peak it will be free flow. It will be interesting to seem the impact on traffic on Dominion, Mt Eden and Manukau Roads when the tunnel opens. I suspect it won’t be hugely beneficial given that after the Newton Rd turn-off on 16 the road has been made no wider to go into the city. Perhaps this is what is being waited for before making a final decision on light rail?

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