Liveable arterial.
Albany Highway.


On a busy stretch of highway dramatic improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure are stitching together the community of users that live nearby. The upgrade links people together and offers a generous invitation to local residents, students and commuters to exchange cars for walking, cycling or public transport. The upgraded Albany Highway proves that local arterials can be liveable.

Right The folded steel balustrades mounted over standard TL5 barriers reinterpret a classic Ministry of Works design and comment on Albany’s transition from orchard to urban.

Below 280 trees and 39,000 shrubs were planted in a design that responded to the varied character along the length of the street.

Around 17,000 vehicles, as well as cyclists and pedestrians, use Albany Highway every day. It is a regional arterial road that serves five schools, Massey University and a cluster of residential estates.

Left Oteha Stream Bridge with colours selected from the riparian kanuka and kowhai. High pressure gas mains and critical infrastructure is slung under the bridge behind a webforge screen.

Recently, a $38m project funded by Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency saw a 4.7km stretch of the highway between Upper Harbour Motorway (SH18) and Dairy Flat Highway (SH17) upgraded. Isthmus was involved from consenting to construction, and authored the Urban Design and Landscape Framework that established the design principles and parameters of highway components.

Left Exposed aggregate is used in shared path areas, across commercial driveways and approaches to intersections to establish consistent cues for movement and a coherent simple palette of materials.

Below Shared path zones were also used to limit impacts on heritage features such as the Albany Cemetery (1835)

This included a connected network of pedestrian and cycle pathways that would benefit the local community and make cycling or walking to school or college easier and safer. Consultation with Cycle Action Auckland helped to refine the detailed design of path configurations at intersections, driveways and crossings to ensure clear cues for movement and pedestrian and cyclist safety.

Right An elevated slip lane allows access to residential properties. The precast retaining units were integrated with vehicle barriers to reduce visual clutter.

A result of the project is a two-metre-wide separated cycle path runs along both sides of the highway, apart from at intersections, bus stops and constricted points where cyclists share a three-metre-wide ‘share-with-care’ path with pedestrians. This cycle path forms a safe route for younger riders, while more experienced cyclists can use the highway and transition onto the separated cycle lanes at intersections. Already, the project has successfully reduced congestion, improved safety for all road users – including the area’s 5,000 school students – and encouraged the use of public transport.

“The collaborative work carried out with Isthmus will not only improve the traffic issues but will also significantly improve the community environment and sets a new benchmark in the way future road upgrades are designed.”
— Kimdon Nguyen, Auckland Transport


Team Members
Gavin Lister, Ralph Johns, Lisa Rimmer, Alan England, Andrew Norriss,
Past Team Members

Karen Ehlers, Nathan Young

Lead Consultant
Hegley Acoustics
Burton Consultants
Simpson and Grierson

Fulton Hogan

Auckland Transport