Tamaki Drive was built during the Depression era and with over 33,000 traffic movements a day, is one of the busiest roads that directly enters Auckland’s CBD. The vision shown by our city forefathers to build a road along the Waitemata coastline to open up settlements between the city and St Heliers was quite outstanding. You have to admit even after 80 years its holding up pretty well considering the huge increase in vehicle movements and public use over that time. However there are sections that are showing great need of reinvestment.
The Tamaki Drive/Ngapipi intersection is one of those. In its current configuration, this intersection has significant safety flaws. There have been 21 crashes in the past five years, over 60% of which resulted in an injury. For an intersection that is unavoidable for many Orakei commuters as well as being the gateway to the eastern beaches and the CBD, statistics this bad are unacceptable and whilst there still remains the debate on roundabout or lights within our community Auckland Transport have confirmed the intersection will be signalized. This year works will start on delivering a major revamp of the intersection.
Vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists will be separated with safety the key driver for that decision. The separation of those modes of transport also meets the Tamaki Drive master plan direction which our community inputted into so well. Many wanted a roundabout as they (correctly) identified that lights will delay vehicle movements, but an independent panel approved a design that will increase the space available for all road users including vehicles as well as controlling movements so that everyone is kept safe. The traffic signals will be connected to Auckland Transport’s operation centre so that signal phases are kept optimized and synchronized with the wider network.
In a perfect world Auckland Transport would do this work in conjunction with raising the section of Tamaki Drive before the intersection which regularly floods, but sadly, Auckland Transport’s prioritization logic and money didn’t follow that train of thought.