Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Road closure for flyover construction leads to gridlock

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Traffic on Ti Rakau Drive heading from Botany to Pakuranga was at a standstill one recent weekday morning. Photo supplied Stewart Scott

Construction of a key part of the Eastern Busway public transport project that’s intended to improve traffic flow appears to be causing major headaches for local motorists.

The four-lane Reeves Road Flyover will be 600 metres long, 18 metres wide and 10 metres high.

It will feature 24 foundation piles and 136 ‘super T-beams’ and will be constructed with 11,500 cubic metres of concrete and 2,500 tonnes of reinforcing and pre-stressing steel.

Auckland Transport (AT) says “better travel outcomes” are on the way for more of east Auckland with preparation starting for the flyover.

It will be built above Reeves Road and the road will be partially closed for the next two years while the work is completed.

“It follows the [recent] reopening of William Roberts Road … which has now been extended to connect with Ti Rakau Drive, providing a new transport link in Pakuranga,” the agency says.

“Motorists can use the new William Roberts Road connection, Gossamer Drive or Pakuranga Road as alternative routes, while Reeves Road is closed for the flyover’s construction.”

Murray Burt, AT’s director infrastructure and place, says the flyover is planned to open in 2026 and will provide a direct connection between Pakuranga Road and the South Eastern Highway.

“This will improve the flow of traffic and reduce congestion around Pakuranga Plaza, playing a crucial role in the Eastern Busway’s success as the next stages are completed along Ti Rakau Drive toward Botany.”

AT chief executive Dean Kimpton says it’s exciting to see new progress on a significant transport project that’s already benefitting public transport users, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“Since the first section of the Eastern Busway between Panmure and Pakuranga opened in December, 2021, we’ve delivered more than 8.5 million passenger trips on our buses that use this corridor.

“That number is only going to continue to grow as the next stages of the Eastern Busway are delivered and more people in east Auckland enjoy quicker, safer and more reliable journeys.

“By 2028 we’re expecting 18,000 passengers will travel on the Eastern Busway every day.

“This number is expected to be 24,000 by 2048.”

The busway is designed to connect east Auckland to the city’s rapid transit network.

An artist impression of the Reeves Road Flyover across Ti Rakau Drive and connecting to the South Eastern Highway. Image supplied

Pakuranga MP and Transport Minister Simeon Brown posted on Facebook on March 18 about Reeves Road’s closure.

“This will mean changes to your travel if you use Reeves Road to get onto the Waipuna Bridge,” he said.

“Please use Gossamer Drive or Pakuranga Road instead. I will be closely monitoring traffic congestion and encouraging Auckland Transport to make changes where needed.”

Numerous people commented on his post saying the traffic around Pakuranga was bad to begin with and has become even worse since the road closure.

The sentiment is summed up by one person’s comment, which says: “Great work NZTA and AT keep it up. Let’s get Auckland moving. Glad I am in Christchurch now.”

Numerous commuters have also taken to social media to vent about the worsening traffic situation.

A photo posted to a community Facebook page at about 8am on March 19 shows traffic heading along Ti Rakau Drive from Botany to Pakuranga backed up to Huntington Drive with every vehicle in front at a standstill.

One person commented on the post it took them 40 minutes to get from Aviemore Drive, in Highland Park, to Botany, a length of time they described as “insane”.

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