New road at Auckland Airport to prioritise freight flows

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 17, 2023

The new Te Ara Kōrako route at Auckland Airport is now open to traffic, designed to improve traffic flows to terminals.

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, Te Ara Kōrako is a 700m stretch linking George Bolt Memorial Drive with Nixon Road and is the latest in a series of roading improvements at Auckland Airport.

The road creates an alternative route for freight and aims to reduce transport volumes on core parts of the network at 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Drive, the airport’s gateway from the north, has been widened to add high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and roundabouts have been replaced by traffic lights at main intersections to better manage peak traffic flows, all completed in late 2021 to maximise the opportunity provided by lighter traffic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,” added 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.