UDPATE: Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Stage 1 Construction Starts. Bus Lane Extension Wins

All set for operation by May 2021

Update: NZTA engagement summary report at the bottom

I was cruising through the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board Agenda when I noticed an important update from Auckland Transport that marked the soon to start construction of the Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive improvements of the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit (Stage 1 project).

These improvements will go alongside the State Highway 20B improvements, the Puhinui Station upgrade, and the nine e-buses that make up the Airport Link that form the Stage 1 of A2B.

There are some changes to Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive that differ from the consultation papers – mainly bus lane operations and on street parking. None-the-less the work is getting underway now with full operations of the Airport Link due to start May 2021.

The details

From Auckland Council:

Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board18 August 2020 

August 2020 – Auckland Transport monthly update to the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board

File No.: CP2020/10795

Puhinui Rd/Lambie Dr improvements

17.     Construction will start on the Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive Improvements project in early August 2020, to support the upgraded Puhinui Station Interchange which is currently under construction.

18.     The sod turning for the start of the project will take place on the 19 August 2020. {NOTE: Per Auckland Transport this did not take place and will do so when Auckland has resumed Level 1 of Covid Restrictions}

19.     The project will implement new bus priority lanes on parts of Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive to serve the future AirportLink frequent bus route between Auckland Airport, Puhinui Station Interchange and Manukau. Other improvements include safer intersections, signalised crossings and protected cycle paths to improve pedestrian and cycle access to Puhinui Station Interchange.

20.     This will improve travel to and from the airport, and its surrounding areas, by providing more reliable and timely travel choices and connecting people to wider Auckland through the southern and eastern line train services.

21.     Total project cost is approximately $13 million. 51% contribution from the Transport Agency, with the remainder coming from Auckland Council and the Regional Fuel Tax (RFT), (STAAI) programme and the wider Southwest Gateway programme.

22.     Most construction work will be completed in early 2021. The new bus lanes will begin operating in May 2021, to align with the opening of the upgraded Puhinui Station Interchange.

23.     Benefits of this project include improved journey times and reliability for the new AirportLink bus service between Auckland Airport, Puhinui Station Interchange and Manukau. Frequent bus and rail connections will make easy and more reliable journeys to the airport, city centre and other areas.

24.     The AirportLink bus service will use nine new electric buses running at a 10 minute frequency along priority lanes, with a 10-12 minute travel time between Puhinui Station and the airport.

25.     Longer term, Puhinui Station will sit on a rapid transit corridor between Botany, Manukau and the airport that will improve access to employment, education and housing areas as part of a connected transport system that supports greater accessibility and predicted growth in Auckland.

26.     New cycle paths and side-street improvements will improve access to Puhinui Station Interchange for pedestrians and cyclists.

27.     An underground filter vault will be constructed east of Puhinui station to improve the quality of stormwater runoff from Puhinui Road. A total of 50 new trees will be planted on nearby streets to replace 25 trees to be removed on Puhinui Road.

Source: Auckland Council

From Auckland Transport

Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive Improvements

A new AirportLink bus service will connect the airport, Puhinui Station interchange and Manukau. It will travel along new bus lanes on Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive. The bus lanes will operate between 6am-7pm, seven days a week. By having the bus lanes in operation all day, it means the new bus services will be reliable and consistent. As a result, some on-street parking will not be available during these times.

We will upgrade most existing bus stops on the route with new shelters. We will also build two new bus stops between Wyllie Road and Noel Burnside Road.

Existing pedestrian crossings will be upgraded and signalised to improve safety and access to shops, schools and parks. A new roundabout will be provided at the Puhinui Station interchange to improve access to the station. The existing footpath between Ranfurly Road and Puhinui school will be upgraded.

A shared walking and cycling path will be provided on the north side of Puhinui Road between SH20 and Puhinui Station interchange as well as a protected cycleway along Lambie Drive. A 1.2km section of unprotected on-road cycle lanes will be removed between Clendon Avenue and Cavendish Drive. We need to remove these unprotected cycle lanes so that there is enough space for the bus priority lanes. A fully separated cycle facilities on Puhinui Road area planned as part of the future Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project.

The bus lanes and walking and cycling facilities will connect with the improvements planned along State Highway 20B to create a direct link to the airport.

We are also looking at cycling improvements between the Airport Oaks, Māngere and Māngere Bridge. More information on these improvements will be available later this year.

Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive Improvements as part of A2B Stage 1. Source: Auckland Transport

Source: Auckland Transport

Excellent to see the project progress towards completion. Even better that the bus lanes will be operating 6am – 7pm, seven days a week rather than the Monday to Friday peak hour nonsense Auckland Transport were asking for earlier. A2B will be taking a lot of patronage that does not travel in the peak so to have the ‘6-7, 7 days a week’ Bus Lanes is an excellent decision. By the looks of it as well not one ounce of extra on street parking is being added either after there were proposals to add more.

I did submit when the proposals went out for submission calling for the bus lanes to be 7am to 7pm, seven days a week and no additions to on street parking. So again excellent to see AT with the 6am – 7pm bus lane operating hours, and parking to be restricted.

Looking forward to seeing Stage 1 complete next year and Stage 2 getting under way not long after.

Also: UPDATE (Budgets Again): A Little City Centre Waits: Where is #ourmanukau ‘s Tactical Urbanism that Equals Jobs?!

Update from NZTA with their Engagement Report:

Some more feedback from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency on the recent feedback for the Southwest Gateway and A2B:

We asked people what they thought of the preferred rapid transit route between the airport, Puhinui Station Interchange, Manukau and Botany. Of the 62 responses, 83% of people were in support of the preferred route. The 18km of rapid transit will travel through key centres and development areas, including the airport, Manukau and Botany. 

We asked people what they thought about the proposed operating hours for the bus lanes on Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive, 6-10am and 3-7pm Monday to Friday. Of the 202 responses, 65% of people wanted the bus lanes to operate for longer hours. After reviewing this feedback, the preferred bus lane operating hours have been extended to 6am-7pm, seven days a week. This will provide greater all-day reliability for bus services and allow for consistent customer journeys.

We asked for feedback on the current and proposed speed limits along State Highway 20B. We want to introduce a consistent and reduced speed limit of 60km/hr. This will help make it safer for all users once the improvements are complete. Of the 194 responses to our survey, 86% of people supported a consistent and reduced speed.

Source: NZTA

The full engagement summary report is below:

One thought on “UDPATE: Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Stage 1 Construction Starts. Bus Lane Extension Wins

  1. Great news, will definitely be using this service in the future. Hopefully we get the next stages soon

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