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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

The State Highway 20B improvements project in Auckland is working both day and night shifts to help make up for COVID-19 delays and achieve its original completion date ahead of major planned events in the city in early 2021.

The State Highway 20B improvements project in Auckland is working both day and night shifts to help make up for COVID-19 delays and achieve its original completion date ahead of major planned events in the city in early 2021.

SH20B is a busy arterial route to the airport with a daily average of 30,000 vehicles pre-COVID-19. The project’s objective was always to be finished ahead of the America’s Cup and APEC (which is now an online event due to COVID-19).

The project is adding new dedicated lanes to allow 10-minute bus services between the airport, Puhinui and Manukau, making safety improvements, constructing two signalised intersections and a new shared path for walking and cycling.

The move to night work started in June after the site was shut down for five weeks during COVID-19 Alert Level 4. The night work with full or partial road closures are subject to weekly traffic management approvals and are in addition to normal daytime working hours Monday to Saturday.

“There are about 60 people working at night, bringing new efficiencies and benefits in the way the project works,” says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager Project Delivery, Andrew Thackwray. 

“There’s an immediate safety benefit for both the public and our workers as it removes the risk of working alongside live traffic on a busy road. Safety is always our top priority.”

“Fewer vehicles on the road at night means we can put in detours and work across the full width of the road. That’s a more efficient way of working and requires less staging. It also means we can have multiple crews and work areas at the same time.”

Drainage work on SH20B takes advantage of the night time road closure

“We wouldn’t be able to do that during the day simply because of the volume of traffic and the disruption it would cause during peak hours.” 

The work undertaken at night is not just a continuation of daytime work. It’s scheduled to take full advantage of the road closures by focussing on drainage, utility, infrastructure relocation and bridge work in particular.

Andrew Thackwray says the night works are likely to continue through to the end of the project.

“Working nights is not going to suit every project, but SH20B is showing we can achieve efficiency gains, time recovery benefits and cause less disruption.”

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Auckland International Airport are working to upgrade State Highway 20B to provide better and more reliable travel options. The work includes a new shared path and additional priority lanes for public transport between Pukaki Creek Bridge and State Highway 20.

The SH20B upgrade is part of a wider programme of works called the Southwest Gateway(external link) to improve travel choice around southwest Auckland and the airport. The programme is being carried out by Waka Kotahi, Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport.

Night time closures allow work across the full width of the road

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