Corazon Miller is a NZ Herald reporter

How to steer clear of March Madness

Big projects will disrupt CBD for four years.
Praying for an end to March Madness on the roads? Prepare for April Absurdity, May Mania and more. Photo / Doug Sherring
Praying for an end to March Madness on the roads? Prepare for April Absurdity, May Mania and more. Photo / Doug Sherring

Praying for an end to March Madness on the roads? Prepare for April Absurdity, May Mania and more.

The annual phenomenon of university students joining the commuter grind has been compounded by an inner-city building boom.

And those hoping an end was in sight are out of luck as a number of big projects get under way, including the City Rail Link, International Convention Centre and the Downtown Shopping Centre.

AA spokesman Barney Irvine said the work was on a scale never before seen in Auckland.

"It makes the Sky Tower construction look like a walk in the park."

Work on the rail link kicked off last year and is the biggest project.

Mr Irvine said there wasn't a light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon - estimates indicated travel times in parts of the city could increase by 25 per cent during construction."

But he warned there is a long way to go yet. He expected the CBD would be "in a state of flux" through to 2019.

"It's still a bit of a journey into the unknown ... what's clear is that traffic travelling east-west across the CBD is going to bear the brunt.

"Anyone driving into the CBD is going to have to contend with continuous roadworks, lane closures, new bus-lanes, changes to on-street parking and a heck of a lot of truck movements."

Auckland Transport Operations Centre has established a control team to monitor the CBD to gauge and manage the anticipated logjams.

Neil Fisher, the centre's acting manager, said the number of projects and their complexity meant the extra focus was needed to keep the city moving.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said cycleways and bus services would help alleviate traffic.

There had already been a 500 per cent increase in the number of cycle journeys, with close to 900 trips taking place each day on Nelson St since a new cycleway opened in December last year.

Meanwhile, about 35,000 seats have been added to the public transport network since last April and another 18,000 were planned over the next four months.

"Day to day we will bring in extra buses if available to assist with the peak," said Mr Hannan.

- NZ Herald

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