Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, is growing fast. Already home to 1.7 million people, Auckland’s population is expected to rise by over 40 per cent to 2.4 million over the next 30 years.
A significant portion of that growth will be concentrated in South Auckland. Around 5,000 hectares of land has been identified for urban development in Pukekohe, Drury, Paerata and Takanini, which could provide up to 40,000 new homes, as well as new jobs, over the next 30 years.
To ensure these growing communities are well-connected to employment, education and leisure opportunities, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi) is undertaking a range of transport projects to increase capacity on the southern motorway network and provide active transport options such as walking, cycling, buses and rail.
One such project is the State Highway 1 (SH1) Papakura to Bombay project. Spanning 16km of Auckland’s Southern Motorway, the project will provide an additional traffic lane in each direction, a dedicated walking and cycling shared use path, improved local road connections across the motorway and wide shoulders to future-proof for bus services.
Interchange improvements at Drury will enable the electrification of rail lines and future-proof for additional rail lines in the future. Safety will be improved through an upgraded motorway alignment and technologies such as variable speed limits, ramp signalling, and incident and congestion detection capability.
The project will be delivered in stages over the coming years. Stages 1 and 2, from Papakura to Drury South, will be delivered under the NZ Government’s New Zealand Upgrade Programme, with construction due to begin in late 2020 and completion expected by late 2025. Construction of Stage 3 between Drury South and Bombay is likely in the longer term.
Once complete, the project will enable 20 per cent more people and freight to travel through the area at peak times.
Waka Kotahi engaged Aurecon to develop the detailed design, secure the statutory approvals and procure the main contractor for Papakura to Bombay.
All eyes will be on Auckland over the next few years as the city plays host to the 36th Americas Cup Challenge, so Stages 1 and 2 need to be delivered to a fast-tracked programme to ensure future visitors and residents have access to a range of transport options.
Aurecon has worked at an accelerated pace to develop the design and get the project ready to procure a main contractor. Aurecon has also been tasked with developing a preliminary design for Stage 3 Drury South to Bombay, where Waka Kotahi will be undertaking route protection to ensure that land is available when needed.
Mana Whenua are recognised as Treaty of Waitangi partners on the Papakura to Bombay project. This partnership is actioned through the Southern Iwi Integration Group, where Waka Kotahi and Aurecon meet monthly with Mana Whenua representatives, supported by additional workshops and meetings as required. The group provides a collaborative forum for information sharing and to consider how matters such as natural heritage, cultural heritage, and social impacts (including design integration) can be accounted for in project development and delivery.