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.
Construction will be carried out in stages to reduce the impact on traffic congestion during peak hours and minimise inconvenience to residents.
- 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.
- Better ease-of-passage 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 the first half of 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
Design and upgrade features
Design components of the Te Atatu Rd upgrade
- Cycle lanes in both directions (a mix of on-road and off-road).
- 2 to 3 metre-wide flush (painted) median.
- 2.5-3 metre-wide shared path on the west side and
1.8 metrefootpath on the east.
- New traffic lights at the Edmonton Rd/Flanshaw Road intersection with Te Atatu Road.
- Upgraded traffic lights at intersections with Vera Rd, Jaemont Ave and Covil Ave.
- Synchronised traffic lights.
- Street landscaping/planting where possible.
- Northbound bus advance lane on Te Atatu Road at the approach to the North-Western Motorway (SH16) eastbound ramps.
- “Flattening-out” significant undulations in the surface of Te Atatu Road and some side roads.
- 2 underground stormwater filters to reduce stormwater contamination.
Design components for Edmonton Road
The road will be widened to three lanes at the intersection with Te Atatu Road, to provide, left, through and right turn lanes. A
On-road cycle lanes will be built on the north and west side of Edmonton Road between School Road and Te Atatu Road and; on the south and east side, between Te Atatu Road and Annette Ave.
The footpath will be widened to two to three metres.
Street landscaping and planting will be added where possible.
Design components for Flanshaw Road
The lane markings for traffic exiting Flanshaw Road to Te Atatu Road will change. In
With traffic unable to enter Flanshaw from Te Atatu Road, there will be a marked reduction in west-bound traffic past the school. This should be good for the school.
Design components for Lyndhurst Road
The lane markings will remain unchanged. There will be a major excavation in the northern berm (and existing footpath) for the installation of a storm-water treatment station.
Design components for Vera Road
Vera Road will “acquire” more traffic as a result of becoming an alternative route for traffic no longer able to turn right into Flanshaw Road. Widening the road for the first 60 metres, and easing the existing bend, will improve traffic flow and safety. It also allows for wider lanes.There will be two lanes leading to the intersection with Te Atatu Road, one of which will be a dedicated right turn lane for south-bound Te Atatu Road traffic.
The left lane will be a joint left-turn and through lane (the latter being for traffic to Jaemont Avenue).
Making the right-turn lane longer, together with creating a flush median, will allow more cars waiting to turn right to be “stacked” out of the way of through and
Other features include:
- Widening along the northern kerb line about 45 metres between no. 1 and no. 3 Vera Rd.
- Retaining parking along the west bound lane.
- Recessing two existing parking spaces opposite the medical centre.
- Relocating services as required.
Plan of the proposed works on Te Atatu Road and Vera Road
Design components for Jaemont Avenue
Jaemont Avenue is a crescent, both ends of which intersect with Te Atatu Road.
At the southern intersection, the road will be widened and a second lane added; one will be a dedicated right-turn lane and the other a left-turn and through-lane (for Vera Rd traffic).
At the northern intersection only left-turns will be permitted.
Design components for Royal View Road
The major change here is that a right turn from Te Atatu Road into Royal Road will be permitted at any time (currently they are prohibited after 3pm).
A 60-metre right-turn bay will be added to Te Atatu Road to enable turning traffic to “stack” out of the way of through traffic.
Among other benefits, this right-turn option will enable traffic to more easily access western Te Atatu South, drain some traffic from Te Atatu Road and provide an alternative route for traffic no longer able to turn right into Flanshaw Road.
Design components for Covil Ave
There are no changes to this road.
Design components for Bridge Ave
Left turns only will be permitted from Bridge Avenue.
A flush median along Te Atatu Rd from Wakeling Ave to the motorway will facilitate the passage of emergency services, facilitate vehicles turning into and out of properties or side roads without impeding general traffic flows and will improve safety for turning vehicles.
Although right turns from Te Atatu Rd to various side streets will be assisted by right turn bays and lanes in places, when the number of cars is greater than can fit into the turn lanes, the extra vehicles can “stack” along the flush median, out of the way of through-traffic.
Footpaths will improve the safety of pedestrians, further accommodate school children, and increase space for shared use by pedestrians, novice cyclists and mobility equipment users.
Te Atatu Road is an important link in the Auckland Regional Cycle Network which is a priority for both Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
Among other benefits, cycle routes provide safe options for school students to ride to school as an alternative to being delivered in a motor-vehicle. You only have to see how the empty the roads are during school holidays to understand the potential value of getting students out of their parents’ cars and onto bikes.
The cycle routes in Te Atatu Road will connect with the region’s cycle network via the North Western Cycle Path.
Converting the Edmonton/Te Atatu Road roundabout to traffic lights
The roundabout at the intersection of Te Atatu, Edmonton, Flanshaw and Lyndhurst roads will be replaced with traffic lights. These will be synchronised with the other traffic lights in Te Atatu Road to provide better and fairer traffic control during peak
No right turn into Flanshaw Road
There will be no right-turn from Te Atatu Road into Flanshaw Road.
A computer model generated from 2012 traffic counts for both Vera Road and Flanshaw Road intersections showed that vehicles currently turning right into Flanshaw Road will contribute to significant delays for other traffic. There would be
Accordingly, the project will enhance the advantages offered by Vera Road via longer right-turn phasing of the traffic lights, a wide flush median in Te Atatu Road to absorb traffic waiting to turn, and some widening of Vera Road near to the intersection.
The chief benefits are:
- This will enable longer green lights for east (city) bound traffic on Te Atatu Road and Edmonton Road (traffic won’t be held up to allow for a right turn phase to Flanshaw).
- West and south bound traffic on Te Atatu Road (and into Edmonton) won’t be held up by traffic stopped and waiting to turn right into Flanshaw.
- There will be a significant reduction in peak-time traffic heading west along Flanshaw and past Flanshaw Road School.
Right turn to Royal View Road
Right turns will be permitted at any time from Te Atatu Road into Royal View Road. Royal View and Vera Roads will give alternatives for traffic currently turning right into Flanshaw Road.
Traffic modelling showed that a long right-turn bay in Te Atatu Road would assist overall traffic movement. This may not seem likely at the present because of the new traffic island installed by NZTA. However, when Te Atatu Road is widened, the south-bound lanes will be shifted to the east, giving space for a long right-turn bay at this point.
Integration with the Te Atatu motorway interchange upgrade
Improvements in the Te Atatu corridor will integrate seamlessly with NZTA’s upgrades to the motorway and motorway interchange, to help improve traffic flows.
Bus priority facilities will be integrated
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.