SH20A is the main artery connecting Auckland Airport to the city. Working in alliance with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and others, we helped upgrade a major intersection and roundabout on the route, transforming it into a dual-carriage motorway.
As the main route from Auckland Airport to the Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) 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, Waka Kotahi 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. Waka Kotahi 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.
With Auckland Airport a key international gateway into Aotearoa New Zealand, it was important the design expressed the kōrero (stories) of tangata (people) and whenua (land) within the project. To achieve this, our architecture, landscape and urban design team worked collaboratively with Tika Creative artist and designer Reuben Kirkwood to weave meaningful narratives throughout the project and create a well-thought-out composition of the prop artwork, anti-throw screens and noise walls to welcome visitors from far and wide.
We also used BlipTrack 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 Waka Kotahi 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, and a better everyday! Watch this video for a quick flyover!