Auckland Transport is investigating a future upgrade to Albany Highway between Sunset Road and the Upper Harbour Motorway (SH18).
Albany Highway is an important arterial route located on the North Shore, one that is also part of Auckland’s bus and cycle networks.
The upgrade of Albany Highway seeks to provide a safe and efficient route for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Improvements also need to be of a standard consistent with the current upgrade to Glenfield Road (south of Albany Highway) and planned upgrade works on the adjoining section of Albany Highway to the north (between SH18 and SH17).
The project is still in the investigation phase:
- As part of this process Auckland Transport will continue to engage with landowners and the wider community;
- There will be an opportunity for public participation during the Notice of Requirement (NOR) process;
- Timing will be coordinated with the planned upgrade to the northern section of Albany Highway, to minimise disruption.
The investigation has looked at how to provide improved:
- safety and amenity for all users, including local school students;
- bus transport facilities in the area;
- travel time reliability, by reducing road congestion;
- mobility for cyclists and pedestrians; and
- stormwater infrastructure.
Auckland Transport has completed an options evaluation that sought to identify the preferred road layout option and preferred intersection options for the Albany Highway upgrade between Sunset Road and SH18.
Features of the plan include:
- Road widening;
- Redevelopment of the Albany Highway / Upper Harbour Drive intersection;
- Redevelopment of the Albany Highway / Unsworth Drive intersection;
- Bus transport improvements;
- Pedestrian and cycling improvements.
In broad terms, the next steps are:
- Auckland Transport intends to lodge a Notice of Requirement (NOR) on Auckland Council to amend the current road designation for Albany Highway to enable the proposed upgrade to occur;
- Further consultation with key stakeholders;
- Finalising and reporting on this investigation phase;
- Preliminary design;
- Consultation with key stakeholders and general public following preliminary design completion;
- Detailed design.
The proposed upgrade to this section of Albany Highway includes:
- Signalising the intersection with Upper Harbour Drive;
- Signalising the intersection with Unsworth Drive;
- A new 2.0m wide footpath on the western side of the road;
- A new 3.0m wide shared pedestrian/cycle path on the eastern side of the road;
- 1.8m wide on-road cycle lanes on both sides of the road;
- Two continuous traffic lanes in each direction;
- Retaining wall to stabilise the steep slope on corner of Albany Highway and Upper Harbour Drive and at other critical locations;
- Improvements to bus stop facilities and bus priority measures;
- Slowing traffic by reducing the speed limit from 70km/h to 50 km/h;
- Other improvements to the road layout for safety and operational reasons (for example, raised central median in some locations);
- Retention of significant vegetation where possible, and minor landscaping works.
To accommodate the proposed upgrade, Albany Highway would need to be widened in places.
A strip of land along the front of some properties would need to be purchased by Auckland Transport to enable the road widening to occur. Auckland Transport has identified the amount of land required for the road widening.
Some driveways would need to be changed so vehicles can continue to safely use them at the completion of the upgrade. Auckland Transport would make the driveway changes where required, after consulting affected landowners.
Safety improvements would change the possible vehicle movements to and from some driveways along the corridor.
On completion of the upgrade works, only left turn movements into and out of a property would be possible in the locations where raised medians are proposed.
If your property is affected, you would have been contacted by Auckland Transport, and you will be fully consulted asthe project develops.
Albany Highway / Upper Harbour Drive intersection
- Reconstruct to provide a level intersection;
- Upgraded traffic signals to control all traffic movements, with bus priority in the northbound direction to increase capacity and support high quality high frequency bus transport along the corridor;
- Two through lanes each way along Albany Highway;
- Exclusive turn lanes into Upper Harbour Drive from both directions;
- Two right turn lanes onto Albany Highway (and new traffic islands) to cater for the future traffic flows;
- On-road cycle facilities including cycle lanes on all approaches and cycle stop boxes at the intersection stop line;
- Pedestrian crossing facilities.
Albany Highway / Unsworth Drive intersection
- Replacing the seagull traffic island with traffic signals at this intersection, to cater for future increases in traffic using the corridor;
- Two through-lanes each way along Albany Highway;
- Exclusive turn lanes into Unsworth Drive from both directions;
- Bus priority in the southbound direction to support high quality high frequency bus transport along the corridor;
- On road cycle facilities including cycle lanes on all approaches and cycle stop boxes at the intersection stop line;
- Pedestrian crossing facilities.
What are the benefits of the intersection proposal?
- Traffic signals control all movements and minimise delays at the intersection;
- The increased capacity of the intersection caters for future increases in traffic accessing the corridor;
- The bus priority measures improve travel times for bus users by reducing bus queuing;
- Raised medians are necessary to address safety issues in locations with restricted visibility;
- Raised medians improve the safety of the intersection and provide for low planting and urban design outcomes;
- Off road cycling provision safely caters for cyclists less comfortable with riding in traffic;
- Pedestrian crossings at the traffic signals provide safer road crossing opportunities.
Future T2/T3/bus lanes
Although not currently required, there is enough flexibility with the preferred upgrade option to provide T2/T3/bus lanes in the future, should traffic flows require this.
Bus transport improvements
The project includes bus transport improvements along Albany Highway between Sunset Road and SH18, which support the objectives for the Auckland-wide bus network.
There are currently two northbound and four southbound bus stops within the 1.7km section of Albany Highway (between Sunset Road and SH18). These serve up to six bus services along the corridor. The southbound stops have bus shelters (one example is pictured below). It has been recognised that the transport facilities along the corridor are not up to network standards as:
- Some bus stops are not served by footpaths and are without shelters and signs;
- Lack of real-time bus arrival information at bus stops;
- Lack of bus priority at intersections where congestion currently exists.
To bring the bus facilities up to network standard all bus stops along the corridor would be upgraded so that they:
- Are accessible by footpath;
- Have defined waiting areas (including shelters, seating and real-time information boards);
- Are provided with kerbing and appropriate tactile service for the visually impaired.
Some changes would be made to existing bus stop locations, including:
- The existing southbound bus stop near 119 Albany Highway (the Retirement Village) would be removed;
- The existing southbound bus stop at Westminster Christian School would be removed and replaced with a new southbound bus stop on the northern side of the school access way;
- The existing southbound bus stop located near the corner of Unsworth Drive would be removed and replaced with a new southbound bus stop to the south side of the Unsworth Drive intersection; and
- The existing northbound bus stop adjacent to 84 Albany Highway would be removed and replaced with a new northbound bus stop opposite the Westminster Christian School access way adjacent to 90 Albany Highway;
- The existing bus stop opposite Ashby Place will remain.
Pedestrian and cycling improvements
The project includes pedestrian and cycling improvements along Albany Highway, as it is recognised that the current environment is unsafe and uninviting for pedestrians and cyclists.
The existing pedestrian and cycling environment is similar to that of a rural road, with minimal pedestrian footpaths and no pedestrian crossings aside from those at Sunset Road intersection and the SH18 interchange with Albany Highway. There are no formal cycle facilities within the corridor.
The following facilities are proposed to improve the corridor for pedestrians and cyclists:
- A new 2.0m wide footpath on the western side of the road to enable pedestrians to safely travel along the corridor or to a bus stop or crossing point;
- A new 3.0m wide shared path on the eastern side of the Albany Highway to accommodate walking and cycling in both directions. This side was selected as it has a more intensive residential land use than the western side of the road;
- A pedestrian crossing with a waiting area on a raised central median at the entrance of the Westminster Christian School to provide safe access to/from a northbound bus stop;
- A new 1.8m wide on-road cycling facility on both sides of the Albany Highway corridor between Sunset Road and SH18.