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Action group says Matakana Link Road is not enough

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Warkworth's Matakana Link misses out the Snells Link Road.


An agreement to speed up the construction of the Matakana Link Road has been signed by Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport, but the Warkworth Fix Hill Street Now Action Group says it's not enough as traffic will more than double at the Hill Street intersection by the time the link road is complete.


The link road that is said to improve transport links in and between Warkworth and the eastern communities is expected to be completed by 2022.


Fix Hill Street Now Action Group member and transport engineer, Roger Williams says: "We do support the Matakana Link as it will eventually help with the holiday traffic, but it does very little for intersection on the average day."


The project has been pushed ahead of schedule and the Transport Agency will provide early funding for construction if Auckland Transport funds are not available in the aim to take pressure off the Hill Street Intersection.


"I have analysed the traffic growth at Hill Street Intersection and to suggest the motorway and Matakana Link is a cure is totally wrong.


"We need a plan for Hill Street in place now and a nominal $20m in the budget set aside to get things moving," Williams says.


The Matakana Link Road will provide a connection between Matakana Road and State Highway 1, just south of the intersection with the Transport Agency's Ara Tūhono Pūhoi to Warkworth highway.


Fix Hill Street Now Action Group member and former infrastructural analyst and independent hearings commissioner says: "The disjointed planning fails to mitigate the more immediate problem that local traffic will more than double at the Hill Street intersection by the time that the link road is complete. In the meantime, construction traffic for other projects such as this will make the Hill Street intersection congestion exponentially worse."


Both AT and the Transport Agency recognise that there is an urgent need to improve transport links in Warkworth ahead of its expected future population growth, and to address frustrations around Warkworth's Hill Street intersection.


Auckland Transport's group manager of major projects, Andrew Scoggins says: "With Warkworth expected to grow by an additional 7,900 new dwellings over the next 30 years, the Link Road will be a key road network improvement to help address existing and future travel needs of the community."


Mr McLachlan believes that while it is practical to have a choice of routes between Matakana Road and State Highway 1, over time the link road will be choked by the development of 2200 houses flanking its route.


"NZTA have already set aside $100m for Warkworth intersection improvements, which includes the link road. We believe there is a solution to fix Hill Street now with what's left from that budget," McLachlan says.


The action group looked at an analysis of data collected by Auckland Transport that shows that 90 per cent of average daily traffic on Matakana Road will be local traffic going the Hill Street intersection to Warkworth for schools, shops, medical support, building supplies and other needs which to them is a big point.


The Transport Agency's Auckland and Northland highway manager, Brett Gliddon says: "The Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway has always been a part of a bigger vision to provide Warkworth with the transport connections it needs to ensure its residents can easily move around the growing town for work and leisure, as well as improving safety and efficiency on the link to Auckland."


"Over the years the Warkworth community has told us that Matakana Link Road is a priority for them. We're grateful for their ongoing support while we work with Auckland Transport to speed up the delivery of this important transport link," Gliddon says.


Planning and consenting works for the Matakana Link Road project are already underway and construction of the road is expected to begin in the second half of 2019. The new road is scheduled for completion just ahead of the Transport Agency's new state highway opening in 2022.


The new Matakana Link Road will also align with AT's new Warkworth Western Collector project - a three-stage plan to improve road connections to the west of the state highway.

Stage One of the Western Collector route, connecting Mansel Drive to Falls Road, is currently under construction and will be completed in February 2017.


The exact route of the remaining two stages have yet to be determined but will connect to the State Highway in the vicinity of McKinney Road in the south and the Matakana Link Road intersection in the north.


Fix Hill Street Now Acton group founder, Mike Francis believes people may have missed that the Link Road will not be in place and usable until 2021 or 2022.


"The link is definitely part of the future growth needs of Warkworth but will not fix the Hill Street problem now. We are in for a rough six years unless we get action on Hill Street now. The Hill Street intersection upgrade could be built in less than the time the link road needs just for the paperwork."


For more information on these projects, visit at.govt.nz.


- Rodney Times

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