Transport Minister: Manukau Harbour Crossing Ready in August


The Manukau Harbour Crossing project on the Southwestern Motorway will be complete and open this August - seven months ahead of schedule, and well in time for the RWC.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce told a news conference in Auckland this morning he  estimated that when complete, the new crossing will result in travel time savings of up to 20 minutes between CBD and Airport, as a result of congestion relief.

The new section of road had been due to be finished in March next year.

The $230M project will double capacity on the Southwestern Motorway to eight lanes between Onehunga and Mangere.

The new bridge has been future proofed to carry rail and will feature four southbound lanes, including one lane just for local traffic. The existing bridge is being refurbished to carry four lanes for northbound traffic.

The project also includes increased capacity for buses.  The Manukau Harbour Crossing is part of the southern end of the Western Ring Route – a 48 kilometre alternative to SH1 running between Manukau and Albany via State Highways 20, 16 and 18.

The minister paid tribute to the workers and partnership between NZTA, Fletchers, Beca and Higgins  in helping deliver the bridge ahead of schedule.

One million man hours have been put into the project since construction started in April 2008. He said the project has also set new industry benchmarks for safety, environmental compliance and waste recovery.




  1. Ingolfson says:

    “will result in travel time savings of up to 20 minutes between CBD and Airport”

    Until, say, 2012, when the induced demand will create calls for more widening works…

    At least they are doing quite a few cycling improvements around the bridge as well.

  2. nickw says:

    Yeah you wonder when Mr Joyce will learn about the principle of induced demand. Must say I can’t wait to see the rail line going across there.

  3. joust says:

    It will help with the bottleneck caused by SH20 and George Bolt Drive meeting northbound, currently 3 congested lanes combine into 1 in the space of 600m.

  4. Commuter says:

    Opened so that overseas visitors to the RWC will be able to drive their cars closer to Eden Park? I’m afraid I don’t quite understand the rationale for this project having any particular significance when it comes to the transport logistics of an ephemeral event.

  5. Nick R says:

    The RWC is just a smokescreen to push through the Nats favourite projects. Even they can’t actually believe that this motorway needs to be in place for a series of stadium events attracting international tourists.

    I’m really not sure where those 20mins of time travel savings are going to come from, are they assuming that SH20 and SH16 are going to be free of congestion? Not last time I looked.

  6. joust says:

    As a frequent user of the road I’m looking forward to it and am pretty pleased at the early delivery much faster than the Mt Roskill extension.

  7. Joshua says:

    Yea those whom don’t drive the route frequently will not know the constant congestion everyday, it’s nearly worse than the southern motorway. This will certainly help and was not done for the RWC but brought forward because of it. I think you will find everyone who commutes along this route, especially by bus will be very pleased. Plus most of Auckland will be happy. I can assure you that if you are traveling by bus you will be saving more than 20 minutes a day, the project either side of the bridge consists of 3 lanes of traffic plus a bus lane, the bridge it’self is 4 lanes.

    A great achievement by bringing the project forward by so much, plus I hear it’s on/under budget. The project is also spending huge money on cycling improvements.

    The only down fall is the rail link has not been installed as of yet but bus lanes will help ease the problem until then.

    (P.S Nick - R, I think you will find the traffic flow will be better, but will definately still be congested due to induced demand, they are only adding 1 lane of traffic North and South of the bridge, but also adding a bus lane. On the bridge itself it is 4 lanes of traffic with provision of a 5th, however this could be turned into a bus lane I suspect.)

  8. Richard says:

    Twenty minutes saving in time! From where to where?
    When the motorway bypassed Mangere Bridge initially that did save twenty minutes for us going from the northern end of the city. However, since then the hold up has been from the city to the motorway. I can drive to the airport in 35 minutes from Glenfield early on a Sunday morning but at busy times it can take an hour longer! The hold up is getting to the Harbour Bridge and then from spaghetti junction to Hillsborough. At the moment I don’t think the new bridge will make any difference.

    When connected through to the NW Motorway there will be a difference………..the whole lot will jam up in no time new bridge and all.

  9. Matt L says:

    NZTA say they have built the bridge capable to hold rail but is this heavy rail or light rail? Also can it hold a single or double track?

  10. Nick R says:

    All this project will do is allow more traffic over the bridge into the same roads as previously, how is that going to ease congestion? Maybe once the Waterview link is in place to take those extra lanes somewhere, but it won’t be long before that whole link is congested too.

    The bridge has been built with foundations strong enough to have a twin track heavy rail deck attached to them at a future date. To say the bridge has been built for rail is a bit of a stretch.

  11. Marwan says:

    Good point Matt L, heavy or light, I suppose heavy, as ARTA’s $2.2 billion southwestern rail plan included only heavy rail, as for 1 or 2 tracks lets hope its 2.

    This is good news, I knew they were going to open it, because the SH1 - SH20 will also open in August. Thats 2 huge motorway projects worth $440 million opening this year. Next year in July I presume they will open the Hobsonville motorway early, because thats reached the 1/2 way mark, looking forward to that, as I live close to the upper harbour motorway.

  12. Jeremy Harris says:

    20 minutes… Ho Ho Ho, I wonder, does Joyce believe such outrageous lies..?

  13. joust says:

    I have read somewhere that there might at some stage be dedicated single lanes over the bridge between Onehunga and Mangere Bridge - to avoid on-ramp queues. Not sure how that will work, though presumably would need barriers right across. If it can happen will be fantastic for us who live in the area. @Jon C might remember more info on that?

  14. Jeremy Harris says:

    That would have been a better idea than this, using the motorways as arterials is a big problem in Auckland…

  15. Joshua says:

    Marwan - I can assure you that has nothing to do with opening the bridge in August, Fletcher’s told NZTA that they could bet their RWC target date and bring it forward to November 2010. However through time saving initiatives they have been able to finish even earlier yet still on budget.

    The fact it coincides is just a bonus.

    It’s two lanes heavy rail, they have never said the bridge was built for rail, otherwise they wouldn’t have cars running on it, it’s been built to take rail, which it’s not a stretch to say so, cause it actually has been. Totally different.

    BTW, stuck in traffic the other-day it took 20 minutes just to get over the bridge, after this is complete it will take about 2-5 minutes in peak traffic. Plus either side of the bridge I have to say driving the route everyday I can see the time savings, induced demand will occur but at least the buses will still be saved the wait with the bus lanes.

  16. ingolfson says:

    Projects like these leave me in a real quandary. I like improvements they bring, especially the real ones (rather than those that just shift congestion around, or only exist in an excel spreadsheet).

    At the same time, I can only marvel how wrong our priorities are in spending transport money. These multi-megabucks projects get fast-tracked with a will, but cycling and walking and public transport get shafted into “reserve” categories (i.e. come back some other time when there might be money left - in 5 years or 10…)

    I’m not talking here about projects that some locals or visionaries want - I am talking of those that local Councils have put forward to improve their walking/cycling/PT infrastructure. All sidelined by Joyce and his minions at NZTA. Reading the Auckland Regional Land Transport Programme makes me weep with all the good proposals gathering dust.


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