Domestic travellers will be welcomed back to Auckland Airport next month on $160 million worth of improvements to the roading network.
André Lovatt, the airport's general manager infrastructure, said while it's not quite a "red carpet arrival", the upgrades to the core roading network include widening and creating new roads, adding high occupancy vehicle lanes and improving pedestrian and cycle paths.
He said the quieter skies over the past 20 months provided a window of opportunity to complete the major project with less inconvenience to road users.
"Our roads are usually some of the busiest in Auckland, so we've made the most of the drop-off in passenger numbers and flow-on effect on traffic volumes to get this project done, with the roads now ready to go for the restart of domestic travel from Auckland on December 15," said Lovatt.
Lovatt said one of the biggest changes people will notice is a new road taking traffic away from the international terminal.
Travellers will now exit the terminal via a one-way loop system aimed at moving traffic, including public transport connections, smoothly around past the international terminal before reconnecting into George Bolt Memorial Drive, the airport's roading gateway from the north.
"Measuring around 800m in length, the terminal exit road will deliver big gains when passenger numbers return in force by allowing traffic flows in and out of the terminals to work efficiently," he said.
"Our roading network at the airport is about 40km in total and whether it's travellers catching a flight or cargo operators transporting goods, everyone using the roads at Auckland Airport is on a deadline and we need to make sure our network is robust, now and into the future."
Beginning in mid-2019, the completed upgrade to the airport's roading system integrates into the public transport improvements along SH20B, including the electric bus service connecting the upgraded Puhinui Station with the airport terminals every 10 minutes.
"The project has also focused on upgrading the infrastructure network below the ground. We now have a transport network ready to meet future demands, as well as our other important utility connections that support the around-the-clock operation of the airport," said Lovatt.