I have been driving into the city from Clevedon for nearly 20 years and never cease to be amazed at what the staff at NZTA come up with. The new Manukau/Airport interchange has been a disaster. The Transport Agency appears to be over the moon about three lanes from Papakura to Takanini but that will just allow people to get to the chaos at Mt Wellington earlier. When are they going to sort out the two-lane bottleneck there? Earl White, Clevedon.
The narrowness at this point is deliberate, and works as a brake in the system. The Southeastern Motorway feeds a huge amount of traffic on to the Southern Motorway from both Onehunga and Pakuranga, and the narrowing to two lanes slows down northbound traffic and allows the traffic from the Southeastern to get in.
The Transport Agency says most of the traffic build-up at Mt Wellington is due to existing congestion on the motorway onramps north of this area, not at Mt Wellington itself. The Government has announced a number of accelerated transport works for Auckland in the recent Budget. As part of that programme, the Transport Agency is looking at improvements to road connections in the Penrose/Onehunga area and on the Southern Motorway. Longer term, the Transport Agency is investigating options further north on the motorway to even out traffic flow.
The Southern Corridor Improvements Project covers the stretch of Southern Motorway (SH1) from the SH20/SH1 connection at Manukau down to Papakura in the south. Additional lanes will be created in both directions and the Takanini Interchange will be redesigned to improve safety and access on to the motorway.
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Project completion is expected in 2018. However extra southbound lanes will be completed in early 2017 to coincide with the opening of the Waterview tunnel and to ensure there's enough capacity for the additional traffic entering SH1 from SH20. The project cost is $268 million.
Walking and cycling improvements will also form a key part of the improvements project. A new 4.5km off road, 3m-wide shared-use pedestrian path and cycleway is proposed to run along the corridor from Papakura to Great South Rd. The project will upgrade 16 bridges and construct 6 new structures including a path across the Pahurehure Inlet and the new Pescara Point Bridge; a new walking and cycling facility that will connect the local cycle network and Karaka Harbourside and Papakura communities.
With regard to those pesky magpies, two readers have written in with suggestions for safety.
Peter Taylor says that if you put a small red flashing light on the rear of your helmet this will stop the birds attacking you on your bike.
And Neale Blaymires of Te Puke has been manufacturing magpie traps since 1998, and feels that there may be local landowners who find the birds a nuisance as well and who would be willing to have a magpie trap on their land. Mr Blaymires has kindly offered to donate such a trap. For contact details and information on this (and other pest traps) click here.
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