Waitakere motorists will soon have an improved motorway interchange at Te Atatu Road on the Northwestern Motorway as the NZ Transport Agency progresses with work to install two sets of ramp signals, a new priority lane, new traffic lights and widening of on and off-ramps to improve capacity and traffic flow.
Ramp signals – traffic lights at on-ramps that manage the rate at which vehicles move down the ramp and onto the motorway – help improve traffic flows and safety on the motorway, while enabling more consistent speeds, safer merging and more predictable travel times. The signals operate only when needed during busy periods and remain off at all other times.
Ramp signals were recently commissioned on the Te Atatu Road westbound on-ramp to SH16. Installation of new ramp signals and widening of the on-ramp to two lanes is underway on the citybound ramps from Te Atatu South and the Peninsula. The work at the interchange is scheduled to be completed in February 2009.
A new priority lane on the citybound on-ramp from the Peninsula will give a quicker trip for trucks, buses and car-pool vehicles. Priority vehicles can access the lane from Te Atatu South by turning right from a new slip lane.
Creating a priority lane for carpool vehicles, trucks and buses will give faster access to the motorway. The lane will move more people rather than more cars to benefit those commuters who car-pool or use buses.
Priority lanes also make a big difference to the freight industry giving truck operators more reliable travel times on the motorway.
The westbound off-ramp from Auckland City is being widened to accommodate two left-turn lanes. The lanes will end at new traffic lights with Te Atatu Road so that motorists can join both lanes on Te Atatu Road. This will help relieve the congestion that often builds on the off-ramp and along the motorway during afternoon peak periods.
New traffic lights will control entry to the citybound on-ramp and exit from the eastbound off-ramp. The existing free left turn will remain from the eastbound off-ramp to the peninsula.
NZTA and Waitakere City Council are jointly installing a new path across the Peninsula eastbound on-ramp that will provide access for pedestrians and cyclists.
NZTA acting regional manager Tommy Parker says that the ramp signals and associated improvements will bring some relief to Waitakere motorists who have had a partially signalised interchange for years.
“The addition of traffic lights and widening of the westbound off-ramp to Te Atatu Road will help alleviate the queues that form during peak periods.”
Ramp signals at Lincoln Road and Royal Road will be completed and commissioned over the next few months. The ramp signals will improve a number of capacity and safety issues on the Northwestern Motorway and are also being co-ordinated with Waitakere City’s planned improvements to Lincoln Road and Te Atatu Road. A priority lane will also be installed on the Lincoln Road citybound on-ramp.
There are now five ramp signals operating on the Northwestern Motorway at the St Lukes Road, Newton Road, Great North Road, Patiki Road and Te Atatu Road westbound on-ramps. The Great North Road on-ramp includes a priority lane.
Operators have a range of cameras giving a real time view of traffic operations throughout the area. At the same time, the NZTA is working closely with Auckland and Waitakere City Councils to manage and assist traffic flows on the local approaches to the on-ramps.
The operations at ramps on the Southern Motorway since last year have been successful. The operation of these ramp signals has seen a 15 percent improvement in travel speeds and a 5 to 15 percent increase in throughput of vehicles.