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Major Auckland Airport roading upgrade to add capacity and enable public transport

Auckland Airport has begun one of its most significant roading projects in decades, with the upgrade of its core network – one of the hardest working roading systems in Auckland.

The multi-million dollar ‘Northern Network’ project will transform the main entranceway into the airport, as well as providing critical support for new public transport connections.

One of eight key anchor projects planned for Auckland Airport over the next decade, Northern Network will add capacity to George Bolt Memorial Drive and see new roads constructed around the core airport network, ensuring it continues to get people to, from and around the precinct quickly and efficiently as passenger numbers increase.

“Northern Network is about making access to the airport reliable, with the roading network resilient enough to cope with anticipated volumes in the years ahead,” says André Lovatt, Auckland Airport’s general manager airport development and delivery.

“Northern Network is a key project for Auckland Airport in that it is providing the roading infrastructure backbone for a multi-billion investment programme to transform Auckland Airport over the next two decades,” he says.

With Auckland Airport’s visitor numbers expected to double to more than 40 million by 2044, the company is beginning a critical phase of infrastructure development over two decades that will transform the experience for travellers.

During this project, George Bolt Memorial Drive, the main road into the airport from the north, will be widened to create high occupancy vehicle lanes, with shared pedestrian and cycle paths alongside.

Simultaneously, roads will be added to the airport network.

A new one-way loop road will be built, allowing traffic to flow efficiently through a pick up/drop off zone at the international terminal before connecting back into George Bolt Memorial Drive. The new Altitude Drive will provide additional roading capacity, allowing terminal bound traffic greater journey time reliability.

Construction firm Downer, an ASX- and NZX-listed company, has been appointed as the contractor for the project. Earthworks will begin in August this year with the roading improvements completed by mid-2021.

“This project is one of a suite of transport and roading projects to take place allowing the growth of the airport, which includes the second runway,” André says.

“We know that any time there are roadworks on busy roads across Auckland it can affect traffic.

“We will be maintaining two sealed lanes in either direction on George Bolt Memorial Drive, just as there are today, but we need to keep our site workers safe and we will be asking road users to take care.

“We also ask that people take the roadworks into account when they’re planning their trip to the airport.”

This investment supports Auckland Airport’s long-term strategy to enable public transport, and aligns with the investment being made by the New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Transport in the wider transport network serving Auckland Airport, including the new Puhinui Station and State Highway 20B.

Northern Network is the second key anchor project to kick off this year, following the start of Auckland Airport’s airfield expansion in June, a project that will increase the size of the airfield by 18 per cent and provide new taxiways and remote stands for the parking and servicing of aircraft.

Other infrastructure development projects that will begin over the next decade include:

  • the new domestic jet terminal
  • a new international arrivals’ area
  • rejuvenation of the current domestic terminal
  • the second runway
  • a new cargo facility
  • reconfiguration of the international forecourt drop-off and pick up

Auckland Airport has already completed a four-year project to upgrade its international terminal departures area, plus extended Nixon Road last year to provide heavy traffic crossing the precinct an alternative route.

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