Road changes are being made to improve journeys to Auckland Airport, where travellers were caught in traffic chaos before Christmas.

On December 8, gridlock meant some passengers and airline crews were unable to get to flights on time, sparking anger from Herald readers who complained about poor transport planning and facilities at the terminals.

The New Zealand Transport Agency(NZTA) is planning to turn the roundabout at Landing Drive into an intersection with traffic lights and close the Montgomerie Rd-George Bolt Memorial Drive intersection.

Away from George Bolt Memorial Drive, or State Highway 20A, NZTA intends to upgrade intersections at Ascot Rd/Richard Pearse Drive, Ascot Rd/Kirkbridge Rd and Westney Rd/Kirkbridge Rd.

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NZTA Auckland highway manager Brett Gliddon said improving the roundabout at Landing Drive will help support development and traffic growth around the airport area and improve journey times and reliability.

From March 24, temporary traffic signals will be in place on George Bolt Memorial Drive and Verissimo Drive to guide motorists and improve traffic flows until the upgrade is finished.

Gliddon said there are a high number of accidents around the SH20A/Montgomerie Rd intersection, and closing Montgomerie Rd will provide a safer and more reliable route to the airport.

He said SH20A to the airport was being upgraded from expressway standard to motorway standard.

The $147 million project, which includes building a trench to separate motorway and local traffic at the SH20A/Kirkbridge Rd intersection, is planned to be completed in July this year.

Close to one million international passengers passed through Auckland Airport in December last year, a record for the company. The number of domestic passengers increased by 10.9 per cent or 75,000 passengers in December 2016, compared with the same month the previous year.