Auckland Airport in New Zealand has launched a NZ$100m ($66.54m) project to upgrade the roads leading to the airport’s terminal area with the aim of boosting capacity and supporting public transport.

Under the ‘Northern Network’ project, the main road leading to the George Bolt Drive terminal area will be widened.

The project also includes the construction of new roads around the core airport network.

Auckland Airport development and delivery general manager André Lovatt said: “Northern Network is about making access to the airport reliable, with the roading network resilient enough to cope with anticipated volumes in the years ahead.

“Northern Network is a key project for Auckland Airport in that it is providing the roading infrastructure backbone for a multi-billion investment programme to transform Auckland Airport over the next two decades.”

To manage the growing number of passengers, which is expected to double to over 40 million by 2044, the airport operator has started improving the infrastructure that will last over 20 years.

The airport said that George Bolt Memorial Drive will be widened to create high occupancy vehicle lanes, with shared pedestrian and cycle paths alongside.

As part of the programme, a new one-way loop road will be constructed, enabling traffic to flow efficiently through a pick-up/drop-off zone at the international terminal before connecting back into George Bolt Memorial Drive.

The new Altitude Drive will provide added roading capacity, allowing terminal bound traffic improved journey times.

Construction firm Downer has been awarded the contract for the road project.

Earthwork is scheduled to start next month with the roading improvements completed by the middle of 2021.

André added: “This project is one of a suite of transport and roading projects to take place, allowing the growth of the airport, which includes the second runway.”

“We know that any time there are roadworks on busy roads across Auckland it can affect traffic.

“We will be maintaining two sealed lanes in either direction on George Bolt Memorial Drive, just as there are today, but we need to keep our site workers safe and we will be asking road users to take care.”

The project is expected to be completed by mid­-2021.