Fuseworks Media

‘Connecting the precinct: new road prioritises freight flows at Auckland Airport’

Extra connectivity is being added at Auckland Airport as a new route takes off on its roading network as part of a $300 million transport upgrade.

Now open to traffic, Te Ara Kōrako – a 700m stretch linking George Bolt Memorial Drive with Nixon Road – is the latest in a series of roading improvements at Auckland Airport. The new road aims to improve traffic flows to the terminals by creating an alternative route for freight and reducing transport volumes on core parts of the network (George Bolt Memorial Drive and Tom Pearce Drive).

Chief Sustainability and Master-Planning Officer Mary-Liz Tuck said while the airport’s roading network is relatively small (22km), it manages a high volume of time-critical traffic.

“We have around 80,000 traffic movements a day across the precinct and while many of these are travellers on arriving and departing flights, Auckland Airport is also a hub of commercial activity linked to aviation.

“Almost 90% of New Zealand’s air cargo comes in and out of this airport. What we’re talking about here is high value export products that attract premium prices in overseas market or time critical imports. We need to make sure those operations can run smoothly and safely as they connect air cargo on and off the airfield via the roading network,” she said.

Te Ara Kōrako allows traffic to move around the precinct and away from people travelling to and from the terminals. It is the latest in a series of roading upgrades begun pre-pandemic to improve the resilience and safety on the airport’s road network. A new terminal exit road takes traffic from the international terminal, George Bolt Memorial Drive, the airport’s gateway from the north, has been widened to add high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and roundabouts have been replaced by traffic lights at main intersections to better manage peak traffic flows, all completed in late 2021 to maximise the opportunity provided by lighter traffic volumes during the pandemic border closures.

As well as the completion of Te Ara Kōrako, work has almost finished on adding high occupancy vehicle lanes along the first stage of Laurence Stevens Drive, an access point for traffic heading to the domestic terminal from the south.

“It will be great to see this project completed before Christmas and I’d like to thank the businesses along this road for their patience and understanding while we’ve worked on the upgrade. We look forward to bringing them the benefits of this work in a few weeks’ time,” said Ms Tuck.

Roading improvements will continue into the new year, with the upgrade of two intersections and a short section of the southern end of Tom Pearce Drive.

Much like the work to the north of the precinct, this is adding extra lanes and traffic lights aimed at keeping traffic moving from the south, the source of just under 40% of the vehicle movements to and from the airport. It is set for completion towards the end of 2024.

Along Puhinui Road, Park & Ride South is also taking shape.

The 3000-plus parking facility, with EV charging, a dedicated bus connection to and from both terminals, as well as a ‘kiss and go’ pick-up/drop-off area will open in the first half of 2024. Parking for workers heading to the airport’s construction projects is already open, with busing and vans used for the final few kilometres to ease traffic around the terminals.