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After months of research, a group of Mahurangi residents has put together a case for a complete re-think of the Hill Street intersection. The ‘Fix Hill Street Now Action Group’ presented to the Rodney Local Board’s August 8 business meeting, calling for support to take the campaign to the Board of Auckland Transport. The group wants $20 million committed to a major redevelopment of the intersection and has started a website, fixhillstreetnow.org, which includes an online petition. Retired engineer and Warkworth resident Roger Williams said traffic modelling from NZTA showed congestion at the intersection would only get worse. The Puhoi to Warkworth motorway and proposed Matakana Link Road would not make up for population growth in Warkworth and eastern towns which had to use the intersection to get to Warkworth. There would be a short-term drop in traffic numbers when the motorway and link road were built, but due to increases in traffic volumes predicted over the next six years, the number of cars using the intersection would still be higher than today. “These are conservative figures based on NZTA’s own models,” Mr Williams said. “Hill Street is the front door to Warkworth. Something needs to be done now.” Traffic was constraining the growth of the region and impacting on tourism. The recommended Unitary Plan included land for over 3000 houses to the north-east of Warkworth, which would add to the traffic at the intersection. Quarry traffic during the construction of the motorway could also pose serious issues. In the Board of Inquiry decision to grant NZTA resource consent and designation for the motorway, it said the impact of construction traffic on the intersection would be more than minor. A site specific traffic management plan would have to be created by the contractor doing the work. Board member Phelan Pirrie said the land zoned for development had increased in the recommended Unitary Plan (see story p8) and traffic could be considerably worse than anticipated. He said the group would be better to present to NZTA, which currently has responsibility for the intersection, rather than AT. “My frustration is that NZTA is sitting on it’s hands as it all comes back to Auckland Transport once the motorway is built and it will be up to ratepayers to pay,” Mr Pirrie said. Mr Williams said there had been calls to redesign the intersection since 1954. In 2006, the NZTA and Rodney District Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding which included funding to rebuild the intersection by 2009. But the agreement was abandoned when the Supercity was created. In 2013, NZTA said no work would be undertaken until after the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway was completed. Then in 2015, the agency said the motorway and proposed link road to Matakana Road would significantly improve congestion at the intersection.
Traffic projections show the Puhoi to Warkworth Motorway won’t solve the traffic issues at Hill Street.