SH20A to Airport Upgrade

A safer, faster journey to and from Auckland Airport

SH20A is the main artery connecting Auckland Airport to the city. Working in alliance with NZTA and others, we helped deliver an upgrade of a major intersection and roundabout on this route, transforming it into a dual-carriage motorway.

Auckland Airport is more popular than ever, with passenger numbers expected to reach 24 million by 2025 as New Zealand’s tourism boom continues.

As the main artery connecting Auckland Airport to the CBD and greater metropolitan area, the 5km long SH20A was experiencing the strain of increased traffic. This was exacerbated by a busy, signalled intersection with Kirkbride Road Mangere, where airport-bound traffic was forced to wait for local traffic, followed by a roundabout at Landing Drive.

To bust this growing congestion, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) formed the MHX Kirkbride Alliance in late 2015 (between Fletcher, Higgins and Beca) with a budget of NZ$220 million and a mission to improve safety and traffic flow. NZTA wanted a team with a proven record of working well together whom they could quickly assemble to deliver this vital project - which all three successful parties demonstrated in an earlier form, as the Manukau Harbour Crossing Alliance between 2006-10.

Working alongside alliance partners Fletcher and Higgins, Beca oversaw all aspects of planning and design for the project. This included Civil, Structural and Geotechnical Engineering for the 450-metre-long road trench and 31 metre super-T bridge at the Kirkbride Road intersection, in conjunction with road design for the Landing Drive intersection.

As a key international gateway into New Zealand, our Landscape Architects helped improve the visual impact of SH20A with 100,000 new shrubs and distinctive Maori design features including sculptures, to welcome visitors from far and wide.

We also used cutting edge Blip Track technology before commencing construction to measure traffic volumes, identify potential delays and schedule our work to minimise disruptions to locals. BlipTrack also allowed us to provide both Auckland Airport and NZTA with detailed estimates of improved road performance/traffic flow upon completion.

The final result is a much smoother, faster journey to and from Auckland Airport, featuring a parallel cycleway and space set aside for a proposed CBD to Airport light rail link. Just another way we’re future-proofing Auckland!

Watch this video for a quick flyover!


Million project


Long road trench


Super-T bridge span

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What We've Done