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Project overview

Project introduction

This project will provide better links for Northern Motorway (SH1) travellers in Auckland and improve transport options on the North Shore for freight, cars, pedestrians and cyclists. It includes a new motorway connection between SH1 and SH18, opening up access to the Western Ring Route and airport.

  • Estimated project dates

    Jun 2014–Jun 2021
  • Estimated project cost

    $100 million +
  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status

    Design

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Purpose

To help facilitate interregional travel between Auckland and Northland by allowing the full benefits of the Western Ring Route to be realised by upgrading the SH18/1 connection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits

  • Provide a new, continuous motorway route from the North Shore to and from the Western Ring Route and beyond, as an alternative to travelling on SH1 through the central city

  • Better link the people of the North Shore to their new neighbours in growth areas in the North-West

  • Separate local traffic and high speed motorway-through traffic along Upper Harbour Highway (SH18), easing congestion; creating better links; reducing harm to local communities; and supporting future freight and economic growth

  • Improve access in and out and around Albany

  • Create new reliable, safe services for bus users, walkers and cyclists

  • Widen SH1 in both directions for those travellers who stay on SH1 through the central city.

About the Auckland Northern Corridor

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:

  • SH1 - Upper Harbour Highway to Greville Road Northbound 3-laning and bus shoulder widening

    The first of the Northern Corridor projects to begin, the Upper Harbour Highway to Greville Road Northbound 3-laning project  completed construction in June 2015. This aspect of the longer term programme was accelerated as it would provide interim relief for the community and increase capacity while the rest of the rest of the programme continued to be investigated and designed.  Key features of this project included constructing an additional northbound lane on SH1 between the Upper Harbour Highway on-ramp and the Greville Road off-ramp, upgrading the intersections at the Greville Road interchange, and building a dedicated shared path for walkers and cyclists to travel safely through the area. 

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  • SH1/SH18 Interchange Upgrade

    This main project in the longer term programme is currently working through investigations, designs and public consultation phases in 2015-16, before progressing to detailed designs and construction from 2018. It will upgrade Upper Harbour Highway (SH18, currently a signalised 80km speed zone) to full motorway standard from its start at SH1 out towards the West at the Albany Highway bridge. This will include a new direct motorway to motorway connection from SH1, separating motorway-through traffic from local access traffic and roads.

    This project forms the final missing link of Auckland’s new Western Ring Route.

    It will also investigate further future improvements in the Albany area, such as direct connections between the Albany Expressway (SH17) and SH1.

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  • Walking and cycling

    The current congestion and conflict of motorway-through traffic and local access traffic through Upper Harbour Highway (SH18), as well as rapid growth in the industrial area at North Harbour has created a divide between the local community to the west and south, and the industrial area to the north. There is limited accessibility for safe walking and cycling around the highways and to and from the busway. Improving facilities and encouraging these ‘active modes’ of transport is a key project within the Northern Corridor project.

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  • Northern Busway Extension to Albany

    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.

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Public consultation

On 10 December 2016, the NZ Transport Agency lodged resource consent applications and a Notice of Requirement (NoR) with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for the Northern Corridor Improvements project. This application to the EPA precedes a resource consent hearing expected to be heard in 2017, and seeks a decision for new or amended land designation rights and a resource consent through the Northern Corridor Improvements area. Once these decisions are made, the project will move into detailed design, property acquisition and construction of its project.

The EPA will notify and run a public submission process in early 2017 and there are several different ways members of the community can make a submission. Read the resource consent documentation, and find out how to make a submission.

Project timeline

Construction on the project is being staged. The Transport Agency aims to have the Northern Corridor fully complete by 2021-22.

1. Investigation phase – 2013 to December 2015
  • Tender was awarded June 2014

The investigation phase identified and assessed options for the Northern Corridor. A thorough process of public engagement was undertaken at key milestones, leading to a preferred alignment plan being developed.

2. Pre-Implementation & Consenting – 2016-17
  • Tender was awarded March 2016

The Pre-Implementation & Consenting Phase is preparing environmental and social assessments to enable the lodgement of consenting documentation with the Environmental Protection Authority, which is expected to be heard in a Board of Inquiry (BoI). The hearing process will include a formal public notification period and is currently scheduled for 2017.
 
This phase also includes the development of formal preliminary design and engineering plans and a procurement strategy for the following construction stage.

3. Indicative construction date (subject to change) – from 2018 - 2021/22 
  • Tender to be awarded (TBC)
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