Airport Chaos Has an Easy Solution. What Stops It is 1960’s Thinking

Just build the damn bus-way


More headlines screaming about airport congestion including Mayor Phil Goff getting caught in a three-hour jam last week trying to get out of Auckland Airport to his destination in the City Centre.

These headlines no doubt will continue through the summer as Auckland goes through its peak season.

The catch is what do we do?


Well this list from Airport and transport authorities is basically shifting the chairs on the Titanic after it struck the iceberg:

• changes to lane configurations at the State Highway 20B (Puhinui Rd) / State Highway 20 interchange before Christmas to increase traffic flows through the intersection;
• the Auckland Transport Operations Centre will optimise traffic signals to increase traffic flows at peak times on the state highways and airport roads, and publish additional airport-specific travel time information;
• changes to lane configurations on George Bolt Memorial Drive / Tom Pearce Drive to improve traffic flows to both airport terminals;
• changes to lane configurations on George Bolt Memorial Drive / Laurence Stevens Drive roundabout to improve traffic flows to the domestic terminal; and
• deploying special temporary traffic management plans on Auckland Airport’s roads to increase the network’s resilience.
The immediate solutions are in addition to the major improvements already underway to deliver additional network capacity and improve travel times, including:
• the $140 million upgrade of State Highway 20A and improvements to the State Highway 20A / Kirkbride Road interchange which will create significant extra capacity;
• the upgrade of the George Bolt Memorial Drive / The Landing Drive / Verissimo Drive intersection; and
• new bus lanes heading towards the airport on State Highway 20A.

quote context: (NZ Herald)


Bus Lanes down State Highway 20A won’t be of much help as the 380 Airporter bus does not use the full length of it while the Skybus is certainly not frequent nor cheap enough to warrant any special attention.


As for relying on capacity increases via the general lanes with State Highway 20A? Once the Western Ring Route is open next year SH20A will just be one hot mess of a parking lot again (if not prior).

So real shifting chairs on the Titanic here with the above solutions.


What is the solution that is quick, rather cheap and allows for near universal connectivity as heavy rail to the Airport via Otahuhu would have allowed?

A bus way from the Airport running along State Highway 20B to Puhinui Station forming an interchange with bus lanes down Puhinui Road, Lambie and Cavendish Drives from Puhinui Station to the Manukau Bus and Rail Stations. 

Basically this red line from the Airport to Manukau:

AT's proposals for the Botany Line to the Airport Source: Auckland Transport
AT’s proposals for the Botany Line to the Airport
Source: Auckland Transport


When the red line is extended from Manukau to Botany forming one half of the Botany Line (the other half is Botany to Panmure Station) then we convert to rail for the entire leg known as Option 1.


Remember :

Airport Origins Source: Auckland Transport
Airport Origins
Source: Auckland Transport


Your airport origins come from Manukau.


There is nothing stopping the bus way along SH20B to Manukau next construction season (2017/2018) and having it done by 2019 with airport busses plying that line every 10 minutes connecting with trains both at Puhinui and Manukau as well as other busses from the Manukau Bus Station.

What we need is political will power to get the project moving.


So Phil Goff will you put the bus-way into your Budget agenda and get both Auckland Transport and NZTA hauling backsides to essentially solve a whole lot of issues at the airport?!