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MYTH #2: That the Matakana link road will fix Hill Street congestion.

Map showing the Matakana Link, which the announcement says will stop at Matakana Road and not continue on to Sandspit Road.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and Auckland Transport (AT) have announced that the design of the Matakana Link is underway and they claim that it will ease the traffic problem at the Hill Street Intersection. They are suggesting that construction may be complete by 2022. There has been no commitment to extend the link to Sandspit Road.

TRUE: It might help with some of the holiday traffic to Matakana and Omaha but less so for Snells Beach.

TRUE: It might take a few commuters to Auckland. How many people do commute and what happens to their families?

Diagram showing typical midday peak hour traffic before Matakana Link is completed.

Diagram showing typical midday peak hour traffic after Matakana Link is completed.

FALSE: The families still need shops and schools and medical services and building supplies and building contractors and these still need to drive through the Hill Street Intersection. As urban growth occurs all these activities will increase.

FACT: The link road will be a collector road, which means that it won't just provide for traffic between State Highway 1 and Matakana Road but also collect the traffic from the 2200 new dwellings along its course.

PROOF: Our traffic surveys for a typical midday peak are shown below. Judge for yourself.

EXPLANATION: There are three ways the Matakana Link will change traffic patterns:

  1. There will be new intersections on State Highway 1 and Matakana Road, which interrupts the existing flow along that road;

  2. There will be more southbound traffic on Matakana Road between the new intersection and Sandspit Road; and

  3. The new road and adjoining Northern Growth Cell (2200 additional dwellings) will generate construction and local traffic.

New Intersections

Any new intersection along State Highway 1 or Matakana Road will interrupt the steady flow of traffic in some way. Whether it is a t-shaped controlled intersection or roundabout, through or turning traffic will be affected.

Remember, there will already be a new tollway/State Highway 1 intersection. Within an 800 metre stretch of State Highway 1, there will be three major intersections - at Hudson Road, the Matakana Link Road, and the tollway. Currently, there are four sets of traffic lights through Warkworth and two more intersections will increase journey times.

Sandspit Road bound traffic

More traffic uses Sandspit Road than Matakana Road. One of the major conflict points is right-turning traffic into Sandspit Road crossing the path of southbound Matakana Road traffic.

The Matakana Link will increase Matakana Road traffic turning left into Sandspit Road. Whilst currently that traffic has to give way to right-turning traffic onto Sandspit Road, left-turning traffic still has to queue behind Matakana Road through traffic heading towards the Hill Street intersection.

A collector road

The link road won't be a bypass in the purest sense. It will be a local collector road, meaning that any properties neighbouring it will be able to have accessways onto it.

The Auckland Unitary Plan has zoned the land around the link road as a "Northern Growth Cell", accommodating potentially 2200 additional dwellings. Potentially, construction traffic and local traffic using the link road and connecting roads could increase by between 13,000-15,000 daily traffic movements. That increase will counter any suggested improved journey times along the link road an Hill Street intersection.

Even the council's experts don't think that the Matakana Link is a fix

Auckland Council commissioned Jacobs to assess how much traffic will use the Hill Street intersection after the Matakana Link is built. The NZTA then revised its 2026 projections based on the new urban-zoned areas of the Unitary Plan. Jacobs and NZTA produced the figures below. As you can see, traffic at the Hill Street intersection still increases significantly despite the Matakana Link Road.

In short, Jacobs says that the motorway reduces traffic at the Hill Street intersection by 18% and the addition of the Matakana Link Road reduces traffic by a further 4%. Their traffic projections were obsolete at the time of their calculations and don't take into account this:

Yup, that's right. Before the road is even opened, an additional four intersections, as many as 691 residential lots, and 90 'industrial lots' (which will more likely be big-block fast food and commercial stores) will choke the 1300m road.

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