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New cycleway and motorway lanes open in time for Christmas

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says transport users across all modes will benefit from years of planning and construction with the opening today of a shared path and additional lanes on two of Auckland’s busiest state highways.

The widening of State Highway 16 between Lincoln Road and Westgate has created a new shared path as well as a third lane for north and southbound traffic, and a bus shoulder lane in both directions.

On the busy Southern Motorway, additional lanes have opened in each direction between Takanini and Papakura, with a shared path to open next year.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Senior Manager, Project Delivery, Andrew Thackwray says this marks significant milestones in catering for population growth in both the western and southern suburbs of Auckland.

Dozens of cyclists lined up this morning for their first ride on the new cycleway alongside State Highway 16 between Lincoln Road and Westgate.

The new cycleway built by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is a 3-metre-wide 3.5km extension of the popular Northwestern Cycleway. The cycleway forms part of the Auckland Cycle Network and creates the opportunity to ride all the way into the city or to connect with local paths along the route.

“The cycleway is another great asset for Aucklanders who want travel choices and to enjoy the health and environmental benefits of walking and cycling,” Andrew Thackwray.

Bike Auckland Chair Barbara Cuthbert says the cycleway extension is a fantastic addition to Auckland’s cycling network.

“The opening of the new Lincoln to Westgate extension to the Northwestern Cycleway is the best Christmas present for people on bikes in West Auckland. They’ve been longing for this to be built for years. With the boom in e-bikes, more people are choosing to commute by bike from the expanding suburbs in Kumeu and the new residential areas beyond Westgate. They’ll be eyeing the route for pleasure purposes as well as another option for easy access to work in West Auckland.”

The first cyclists set off on the new extension to the  Northwestern cycleway alongside SH16

The first cyclists set off on the new extension to the  Northwestern cycleway alongside SH16.

The SH16 Lincoln to Westgate improvements are the latest phase of development of the Western Ring Route which connects SH18 and SH16 via the Waterview Tunnel to SH20B to the airport and SH20 to the Southern Motorway. The Western Ring Route provides a resilient alternative north-south route to going over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and through central Auckland.

It has been delivering more traffic to the Southern Motorway via the SH20/SH1 connection, which is where the Southern Corridor Improvement (SCI) project is nearing completion.

New motorway lanes opened in stages this week for north and southbound traffic between the Papakura and Takanini interchanges. The new lanes complete the addition of motorway capacity for the more than 95,000 vehicles using this strategic route every day.

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford leads the ribbon- cutting to open new traffic lanes on the Southern Motorway. The Pescara Point pedestrian bridge in the background will open next year.

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford leads the ribbon- cutting to open new traffic lanes on the Southern Motorway. The Pescara Point pedestrian bridge in the background will open next year.

The $317m SCI project, has widened the motorway to four lanes southbound between the SH20/SH1 connection and the Hill Road off ramp and to three lanes from Hill St to the Papakura interchange.
Northbound, there are now three lanes from Papakura to Takanini. Along the way, the SCI team has built or rebuilt 24 bridges, 22 retaining walls, 4.5kms of shared user path and 4.4km of new noise walls.

Mr Thackwray says that in the past motorists have experienced frequent bottlenecks along the Southern Motorway, especially between the SH1/SH20 connection and Papakura.

“The new lanes will help ease this congestion and improve journey reliability. We’re very pleased to open these lanes before Christmas so that motorists can have a construction-free run out of the city to their holiday destinations.”

Construction crews will take a break over Christmas and be back in the New Year to do the final resurfacing and marking of the new lanes.

They will also complete the new 4.5km shared path for pedestrians and cyclists between Papakura and Takanini and open the new pedestrian bridge at Pescara Point.

The new walking and cycling facilities will connect with local networks and provide more transport options for short journeys.

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