Alternative route for west and southbound traffic
The Northern Corridor Improvements (NCI) project will investigate and build a new direct motorway-to-motorway connection on the North Shore, providing a new and efficient direct route for commuters and freight to travel to and from Auckland Airport, West Auckland, Manukau and Hamilton.
The new link will connect SH1 directly with a redesigned Upper Harbour Highway (SH18), opening up access to the new Western Ring Route (upgraded Northwestern Motorway (SH16) and Waterview Connection (SH20) and SH20A to the airport).
At the moment, SH1 is the only main route between Northland and Auckland and faces significant congestion, particularly at peak times. Pressure on the motorway system around the Albany and North Harbour area has grown substantially in recent years and is set to become more intense with continued increases in population, housing and freight movements over the next 30 years.
Creating a new direct motorway to motorway connection will allow travellers to avoid travelling through the central city and keep local roads free for local traffic by separating motorway and local traffic.
Supporting local area growth
The NCI project also has significant benefits for Albany, the North Harbour industrial area, and the wider North Shore community, including:
- Better linking the people of the North Shore to their neighbours in the growing areas of Hobsonville Point, Westgate shopping area, and North Massey.
- Removing the current conflict between local trips and highway/motorway-bound traffic along Upper Harbour Highway – the current merging of traffic flows here include high speed intersections, three sets of traffic signals, and a fairly high accident rate (rear ending).
- Improving access to and from Albany, by upgrading capacity at interchanges and ramps.
- Adding dedicated walking and cycling access throughout the area – to help make active travel choices safe.
- Widening SH1 motorway lanes in both directions for those people who stay on the main route to travel back and forth to Auckland city.
Working in partnership
The NCI project team is working closely with the local businesses and residents, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, stakeholders and iwi to develop plans for the area. In 2014-15 the team undertook and completed its major investigation, planning and business case phases, and gained approval from the Transport Agency board for its draft alignment plan. In 2016-17, the project team will undertake a programme of resource consenting processes through the Environmental Protection Authority, and continue to develop the alignment plan further into a full preliminary design. Construction is scheduled from 2018 and will take approximately 3-4 years. As with the previous planning phase, the project team will continue to involve all stakeholders and the community in consultation.
Extending the busway
The NCI will also include an extension of the dedicated Northern Busway from Constellation Bus Station all the way through to Albany Bus Station, improving journey time reliability and time savings for passengers on bus services. Auckland Transport is currently investigating an additional bus station with Park & Ride options in Rosedale, which would increase access to bus services for a key employment area.
The Northern Corridor programme consists of several projects: