The latest plans for a new busway to relieve pressure on some of the country’s most congested roads have been announced.
The 7km busway will link Panmure train station with Pakuranga and Botany, with separate lanes so buses don’t get caught in traffic. This is expected to cut public transport journey times significantly and relieve congestion on roads.
Plans for the South Eastern Busway, one of the key Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) projects, were on show at a public information day which 300 people attended in Pakuranga on Saturday. Videos showing a flythrough of the busway concept plans are available at www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz/ameti
AMETI aims to deal with congestion in the south east of Auckland, which is amongst the worst in the country. The two bridges across the Tamaki River carry about 120,000 vehicles a day, more than State Highway One through Victoria Park.
Construction of the first AMETI projects in Panmure began earlier this year.
Auckland Transport hopes to begin construction of the South Eastern Busway first stage in 2015, although the start date is dependent on funding and consents.
The first stage will be on the north side of the road from Panmure to Pakuranga. A new Panmure Bridge will be built for the busway and a separate cycle/pedestrian path. A new bus station will be built at Pakuranga town centre and three new high quality bus stops will be at signalised intersections to allow safe access for pedestrians.
The second stage will feature New Zealand’s first central bus lanes along Ti Rakau Dr from Pakuranga to Botany. Three new bus stops will be built at signalised intersections in the centre of the road so people can always get to them safely.
The busway project will also make major improvements for cyclists and pedestrians, with cycle lanes and wide footpaths along the route.
The busway is expected to attract 5.5 million passengers a year, compared to the current 2.2 million using the Northern Busway. It will be an urban busway, designed differently to the Northern Busway to fit in with the area and improve better connections and safety for pedestrians.
Auckland Transport Major Projects Manager Rick Walden says buses get caught in the same congestion as cars, meaning public transport isn’t a good option.
“The area has one of the lowest proportions of public transport use in Auckland. The aim is to cut bus travel times significantly to get more people on to public transport. This will help free up roads for business, freight traffic and others who can’t use public transport.
“The busway will provide quicker, more frequent travel and an easy connection with trains at Panmure Station. Local bus services will remain, using the busway to give passengers faster journeys.
“With the busway alignment confirmed, Auckland Transport is now carrying out more detailed investigations. This will take into account feedback from the public information day, for example on bus stop locations and cycling improvements.
“This work will also look at the design of the Reeves Rd flyover and improvements to the Gossamer and Trugood Dr intersections with Ti Rakau Dr.”
The Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) is a group of transport projects for the southeast (Panmure, Mt Wellington, Pakuranga, Howick and Botany).
The aim is to give people living in the area transport choices by improving public transport, walking and cycling facilities and reducing traffic congestion. Other major aims are to unlock the economic potential of the area, improve transport for freight and business traffic and to promote good urban design.
The AMETI area has some of the highest traffic flows, highest proportions of freight traffic and greatest levels of congestion, anywhere in the country. At the same time it has some of the worst conditions for walking and cycling and bus services caught in the congestion with resulting long and unreliable travel times, resulting in some of the lowest proportions of public transport, walking and cycling use in Auckland.
The two bridges across the Tamaki River carry more than 120,000 vehicles a day, more than State Highway One through Victoria Park. They also have more freight traffic than any other corridor in the country.