Auckland-Manukau Transport Initiative needs to address freight issues

National Road Carriers is urging Auckland Transport to re-think the next stage of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) project to ensure trucks and general traffic can travel the planned route safely.

"The focus of the project needs to be widened beyond meeting the needs of just buses, cyclists and walkers," says NRC chief executive David Aitken.

Under a heading of ‘Next Stage of AMETI Coming Soon," Auckland Transport’s March newsletter unveils plans for New Zealand’s first urban busway with buses travelling on their own congestion free lanes between Panmure, Pakuranga and Botany town centres.

Lagoon Drive is to be narrowed to one lane of traffic each way to provide space for the busway, cycleway and footpath. A new Panmure bridge is proposed, but only for busses, cyclists and walkers.

Proposals to upgrade the Reeves Road flyover, which is an important freight link between the eastern suburbs and Panmure, Mt Wellington and the SEART connection to the rest of Auckland, have been delayed for a decade or more.

"We are especially concerned that narrowing Lagoon Drive to just one lane of traffic each way will create safety risks for freight and general traffic, especially during the peak commuter traffic hours," said Mr Aitken. "What if there is a break down on this narrow stretch of road?"

It was unrealistic to expect all freight traffic to use Highbrook Drive and the motorway or SEART, especially as there is a business park at Panmure. "Freight traffic will tend to use the most direct route."

The fact that the proposed new Panmure bridge is only for busses, cyclists and walkers suggests that the AMETI project is viewed as primarily for public transport. "But the reality is that a lot of cars and trucks travel the route and this needs to be taken into account," said Mr Aitken.

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