There was an interesting announcement by Auckland Airport yesterday on number of transport projects they’ll be undertaking, some of which could really help improve access for buses to the terminals. The four new projects are:
- upgrading Nixon Road by October 2017 to provide a new route to Auckland Airport’s Park&Ride on Verissimo Drive without the need for drivers to use the main intersection that connects the domestic and international terminals at Tom Pearce Drive and George Bolt Memorial Drive;
- improving traffic flows and improving public transport access to the domestic terminal by Christmas 2017 through the provision of more space for buses on the terminal forecourt and a new and separate access road for taxis and buses;
- construction of an iconic new gateway bridge over George Bolt Memorial Drive by the end of 2018 for pedestrians and cyclists to connect “the Quad” hotel and commercial precinct with the airport terminals and take cars off the main road network; and
- implementing a transit lane system across the airport precinct between December 2017 and 2020 for buses and high occupancy vehicles.
The most expensive of those will be the gateway bridge
On the gateway bridge they say:
“Our new gateway bridge will be a spectacular sight as you enter and leave Auckland Airport to the north towards the city. Designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, the suspension bridge features a 40 metre high concrete mast that is inspired by the form of a huia feather with a white light tipped column and Māori motifs. It will be an urban beacon and precinct marker that will be visible across the airport, both during the day and at night. The bridge will also significantly improve the walking and cycling experience between our commercial precinct and the terminals.”
Given the distances between their commercial precinct and the terminals I hope that the project also includes other improvements to walking and cycling in the area.
It’s also worth noting that their masterplan includes a pedestrian and cycle link shown as number 6 below.
But it’s the transit lanes and improved access for buses (and taxis) that are likely to have the biggest impact. We know that Auckland Transport and the NZTA are busy looking at what can be done to improve access for buses outside of the Airport precinct so this work should help move buses inside it. Hopefully we’ll hear more from AT/NZTA on what they’re going to do soon. Our preference is for some quick, short term improvements to connect with the rail line at Puhinui.
In addition to these projects they say they add to a number of others improvements they’re making including
- upgrading the Puhinui Road roundabout to help improve the eastern access to the airport from State Highway 20B/Puhinui Road;
- adding 1,400 more car parks to our Park&Ride facility, mostly for use by staff working at the international terminal to remove staff traffic from the inner airport roads;
- upgrading the traffic light phasing and lane configurations at the airport’s George Bolt Memorial Drive and Tom Pearce Drive intersection to improve traffic flows;
- updating the lane configurations at the airport’s George Bolt Memorial Drive and Laurence Stevens Drive roundabout to improve traffic flows; and
- developing new traffic management plans for use when the airport roading network is particularly busy.
They also say they’re working on additional projects that will be announced in the future.