Auckland Transport (AT) is carrying out the Te Atatu corridor improvement project to boost the efficiency and safety of one of west Auckland's busiest roads.
Project status: Construction.
Project zone: West.
The area to be upgraded is approximately 1.4km long and covers Te Atatu Road, from Wakeling Avenue to the Northwestern Motorway interchange (on- and off-ramps), Edmonton Road from School Road to the Te Atatu Road intersection, and for varying distances along side streets.
An upgrade to Vera Road is included as a result of public feedback suggesting improvements to some aspects of the final design.
The upgrade will improve the traffic flow using a combination of measures, including road-widening and levelling, and improvements to intersections, roundabouts and traffic lights.
- Better travel times for buses (via bus priority measures and better overall traffic flow).
- Better cycle and pedestrian facilities (with particular benefit to school students) and connection to the Greater Auckland cycle network via the Northwestern Cycleway.
- Improved traffic
flowfor commercial and private vehicles.
- Easier travel for emergency vehicles.
- Improved road safety for all transport modes.
- Improved stormwater management and landscaping.
The total cost of the project is $30 million ($17 million is for construction). The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will fund 53% of the construction costs.
Construction began on 10 August 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in mid 2017.
An average of 38,000 vehicles a day use Te Atatu Road to get on or off the Northwestern Motorway (SH16). This makes it one of the busiest roads in West Auckland and congestion is a problem. The area also has a high incidence of accidents, some resulting in serious injuries.
The Te Atatu Road corridor improvement will boost the efficiency and safety of Te Atatu Road for all road users, especially buses, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Improvements will also be made on side roads for varying distances from the intersection with Te Atatu Road. These will all combine to make the overall improvements work.
Measures to improve traffic flow:
- Widening the road to incorporate bus priority measures and painted flush median, new cycling facilities and improved footpaths.
- Replacing the roundabout with traffic lights.
- Synchronising all traffic lights.
- Levelling the road for the whole length of the project.
- Improving various intersections by:
- adding dedicated turn lanes (to get turning traffic out of the path of through-traffic).
- removing turn options at some intersections.
Principal changes to right turns are:
- There will be no right turn to Flanshaw Road from Te Atatu Road.
- The current peak-time restriction on right turns from Te Atatu Road into Royal View Road will be lifted, and a longer right-turn pocket will be provided.
The traffic-flow improvements will be further facilitated by improved access to the Northwestern Motorway (SH16). NZTA has upgraded the Te Atatu motorway interchange and is improving SH 16 itself between Westgate and Waterview. This
- Purchase land from 111 private property frontages.
- Re-establish front boundaries (fences, walls, hedges etc) for all affected properties and re-build or regrade driveways where necessary.
- Identify all existing underground services (electricity, gas, water, phone and fibre lines) and relocate to a “common services trench” (one trench for all services).
- 2 underground storm water filters to reduce stormwater contamination.
- Raising road levels at the area around the roundabout.
- Flattening out significant undulations in the surface of Te Atatu Rd and some side roads.
- Replacing the roundabout with traffic lights at the Edmonton Rd/Flanshaw Rd intersection with Te Atatu Rd.
- Closing the right turn from Te Atatu Rd to Flanshaw Rd.
- Opening a 24/7 right turn from Te Atatu Rd to Royal View Rd.
- Upgrading traffic lights at intersections with Vera Rd, Jaemont Ave and Covil Ave.
- Synchronised traffic lights.
- Bus priority “pockets” (green-painted section) at intersections for buses to use, complemented by bus priority traffic lights.
- Cycle lanes in both directions (a mix of on-road and off-road).
- 2 to 3 metre-wide flush (painted) median.
- 2.5 to 3 metre-wide shared path on the west side and 1.8 metre footpath on the east.
- Street landscaping/planting where possible.
- Northbound bus advance lane on Te Atatu Rd at the approach to the Northwestern Motorway's eastbound ramps.
Schedule of works
A small amount of frontage has been purchased from 111 properties, to allow the road to be widened. This means front boundaries (fences, walls hedges etc) need to be moved a few metres closer to the properties and the underground services moved closer to the new front boundaries. This will ensure that the services remain under the berms and not under the road when it is widened.
These are the first categories of works and also include realigning driveways and footpaths in places. Where necessary, footpaths will be tilted slightly towards the road to ensure storm water run-off is directed to the road drains and not the lower-lying properties.
These works will be carried out along the full length of the project area. Contractors will then rebuild the road.
These first stage works require a lane closure to permit the moving of underground services. The closed lane gives room for machinery and trucks, storage of materials and to provide a safety zone for workers.
After studying traffic models, AT decided to make the lane closure permanent for the duration of the works. Reasons for this included:
- Right-turn lanes must be continuously available.
- Traffic lights must be synchronised to the different traffic flows north- and south-bound. It would not be possible to change these twice daily (either to re-open the closed lane for peak traffic hours or to open 2 of the 3 remaining lanes north-bound for the morning peak and then switching to 2 lanes south-bound in the evening). Making the change each day would add
around3 months to the length of the project.
Traffic models showed that on balance, it was better to close a north-bound lane than one south-bound lane.
The road is being reconfigured using plastic poles that are bolted to the road (called “safe-hits”) rather than cones. Having bolted poles means that exact lane widths can be maintained at all times and they do not get scattered the way cones do, which can lead to confusion or inconvenience for drivers and road workers.
If you're driving from the Kelston, Oratia, Glen Eden and Western Heights areas, avoid using alternative routes via Lincoln Rd or New Lynn as both routes are already under considerable pressure at peak times.
With new electric trains now fully operational, try the train or bus. Public transport is fast and frequent at peak times so you'll never have to wait long, and most people in these areas will have to pass a bus stop or train station anyway. Return fares are less expensive than taking a car and parking, and travel times will also be similar, so let someone else do the driving.
If your children attend a nearby school, you could look at joining or forming a Walking School Bus, or walk the kids to school yourself.