Long-awaited Lake Road improvements are back on track

The long-awaited Devonport-Takapuna improvements are on their way, as Auckland Transport (AT) restarts plans for upgrading Lake Road, Esmonde Road and Bayswater Avenue.

The project was put on hold in mid-2020 due to Auckland Council funding constraints resulting from COVID-19 impacts, however funding has now been made available and the project is recommencing.

This week, AT updated the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board on the $48m project - which is designed to improve the safety and people-moving productivity of the corridor, while avoiding disruptive and expensive road-widening.

New transit lanes, safer cycle lanes and upgraded intersections feature in the design that has been amended to reflect local board and community feedback.

AT has taken on board the feedback from over 600 submissions received during consultation in early 2020, and made changes to improve many elements of the design.

There was strong community support for safer cycling facilities, but also concerns that traffic congestion would remain. AT is further investigating opportunities such as traffic light phasing at key intersections.

Auckland Councillor for the North Shore ward, Chris Darby, says there’s been a concerted effort by Auckland Transport and council over the last year to pull out the stops and get this long-awaited project back on track.

“Lake Road is the peninsula’s umbilical cord - connecting people, carrying essential services and supplies. It’s a lifeline for about 17,000 residents. Despite Covid-constrained budgets we’ve managed to secure a sizeable $48m to get things moving. We’ll tackle safety, unblock intersections, create atractive protected cycling, and provide priority to buses and cars with passengers.”

“Over the next 18 months detailed design will progress, followed by full consenting. After which, it will be shovels in the ground and undergrounding of powerlines and poles.  We will also tie-in the revamping of the Belmont town centre, creating a more connected and attractive local magnet.”

AT’s Manager of Strategic Projects: Central Access, Daniel Newcombe, says AT’s proposal is expected to result in a 20 per cent increase in Lake Road’s people-moving productivity, including a 10 per cent increase in bus patronage, and a 20 per cent saving in travel time for people in high-occupancy vehicles (people in buses, or people carpooling).

“Around half of all Lake Road journeys remain within the peninsula - short local trips that don’t ​all need to be made by car – so this frees up more space for those who need to drive,” he says.

“Safety is ​also a major focus for AT, as there have been at least 28 serious crashes along Lake Road in the last 10 years and 10 deaths were pedestrians or cyclists.”

Key aspects of the project’s design include:

  • New transit lanes targeting the most congested parts of Esmonde Road and Lake Road
  • Upgrading the existing Lake Road cycle lanes to be safer and physically protected
  • New cycle lanes on Bayswater Avenue
  • Supporting the upgrade of the Belmont shops area (in conjunction with Auckland Council)
  • Safer and more efficient intersections
  • Investigating new technology (such as electronic roadside signs and apps) to provide travellers with up-to-date travel information
  • Reducing carbon emissions

AT has agreed to look at enhancing the operation of several key intersections, including:

    • Hauraki Corner
    • Bardia and Winscombe Streets
    • Eversleigh Road /St Leonards Road
    • Belmont shops.