Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is asking for feedback from the public on a proposal to reduce the speed limit and introduce a dedicated bus and priority (T3) lane on State Highway 20B (SH20B) to Auckland Airport.
SH20B is a busy arterial route to the airport, with a daily average of 30,000 vehicles pre-COVID-19. The project is adding new dedicated lanes to allow frequent bus services between the airport, Puhinui and Manukau, making safety improvements, constructing two signalised intersections and a new shared path for walking and cycling.
Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Project Delivery Andrew Thackwray says the proposed lower speed limit will improve road safety for all users.
“Speed increases both the likelihood of crashes and their severity. In the last five years, there have been 22 known crashes on SH20B, two of them head on. A reduction in speed can make a big difference to whether people are killed, seriously injured or walk away from a crash, especially when cyclists and pedestrians are involved.”
Currently, there are three different speed limits (50, 60 and 100km/h) along the 3km stretch of SH20B between Pukaki Creek Bridge and the SH20 interchange where most of the time the average vehicle speed is less than 60km/h.
There will be no change to the existing 50km/h from the SH20/SHB interchange to Manukau Memorial Gardens, but the proposal is to reduce the speed limit from 100kms to 60kms between the Gardens and Orrs Road.
“The upgraded road corridor and reduced speed limit will make journey times more consistent and safer,” says Andrew Thackwray.
Last year, Waka Kotahi engaged with the public about a reduced speed limit on SH20B once current construction was finished. The vast majority (86%) of respondents supported the move.
Waka Kotahi is also proposing a dedicated bus lane in each direction between Pukaki Creek Bridge and the SH20 and SH20B interchange to provide more reliable public transport services and support frequent bus services between the airport and Puhinui Station Interchange.
“To maximise efficiency and ease congestion, the proposal is to also allow vehicles with three or more people (T3) to use the new bus lanes.”
It’s proposed the T3 lanes operate 24/7 once the corridor improvements work is completed in 2021. Formal consultation on a bus and T3 lane bylaw is required under Section 22AD of the Land Transport Act 1998.
The SH20B upgrade is part of a wider programme of works called the Southwest Gateway(external link) to improve travel choice around southwest Auckland and the airport. The programme is being carried out by Waka Kotahi, Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport.
Waka Kotahi wants to hear from communities and road users on the proposed speed limit and T3 changes.
Formal public consultation is open until Sunday 8 November 2020.
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