The last 24 hours has been frenetic. We’ve packed up the billboards, picked up the petition booklets, and we attended a productive meeting with politicians and officials from NZTA and Auckland Transport.
THAT’s A WRAP
It’s the end of summer so we’ve concluded our petition campaign. Down came the billboards and in came the last of the petition booklets. Thank you to Greg Allen-Baines at Harvey’s Warkworth for generously printing out the petition booklets.
Our team of volunteers were almost everywhere this summer. Special mention goes to Peter Thompson who managed to collect over 2,000 signatures!
To the businesses and clubs who hosted our petition booklets, thank you for displaying our clipboards on your counters. We are so thankful to Warkworth’s Bin Inn and Gull Matakana who managed to fill several booklets.
Collecting signatures was hard yakka. At the Matakana Farmer’s Market, for almost every signature we had to explain where the intersection was (“It was the intersection you were stuck at on the way here.”) During our pub crawls, everyone had a suggested “quick fix”. Two of our signs were stolen in November and so were four of our almost completed petition booklets.
In the end, we’ve comfortably collected over 10,000 signatures. That is more than the combined populations of Warkworth (3,909), Snells Beach (3,552), Algies Bay & Mahurangi East (687), Matakana (291), Point Wells (384), Omaha (624), Leigh (441) and the rural areas in between.
We’ll be collating the petition sheets over the weekend and presenting them to Rodney MP Mark Mitchell on Monday, which he will table in Parliament next week.
Thank you everyone who was involved.
Now the work begins. Today, we attended a meeting organized and hosted by Mark Mitchell and attended by the Rodney Local Board, Auckland Transport, NZTA, One Warkworth, and our team. Discussed were Hill Street, Warkworth’s motorway connections, and the Matakana Link.
The meeting was really productive and all attending agreed to put out a joint press announcement for next week.
As a sign of goodwill, we’ve cancelled the planned protest for Saturday 1 April.
At the meeting, it was clear that the co-ordination of Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, and NZTA transport planners is essential. It was accepted that the Unitary Plan growth zones will accelerate traffic growth faster than anticipated and infrastructure projects need to be fast-tracked.
There is currently a 700+ building consent backlog at council for the Rodney area. The alignments of many roading projects haven’t been finalised and there is a risk that potential routes could be built on.
BEST LAID PLANS
It hasn’t been a good week for the NZTA. The much anticipated $630m Kapiti Expressway, which bypasses two towns and two dangerous stretches of road, has produced a bottleneck at its southern terminus near the incomplete Transmission Gulley. Journey times have doubled instead of halved (http://bit.ly/2nJIK5x).
The NZTA runs the risk of the same problems at Kapiti occurring at Warkworth. The motorway ending at a roundabout could produce worse congestion than Kapiti or the Plimmerton roundabout.
The Puhoi to Warkworth motorway bypasses one town and one stretch of dangerous road. The Warkworth to Te Hana motorway also bypasses a town and another dangerous stretch of road. Each stage terminates within a few kilometres of a dangerous stretch of road – Dome Valley for stage one and Topuni for stage two. Any future stages will have to deal with a similar pattern - Kaiwaka, then the Brynderwyns, then Waipu, then Uretiti/Ruakaka.
The costs for each stage will be more expensive that the previous but with lower traffic volumes. The stages all complement each other with the overall aim being a motorway to Whangarei and Marsden Point Port. I doubt that anyone wants a motorway that ends at the southern foot to the Brynderwyns.
The blowout of the cost of the Warkworth to Te Hana stage has resulted in the costs being double the benefits. On the other hand, the Unitary Plan’s growth strategy will generate congestion that reduces the benefits compared to the costs. Now that stage one has commenced, the NZTA should be looking at smaller enhancements to optimise the benefits so that the combined stages are feasible.
A motorway connection near Valerie Close could reduce traffic at the motorway terminus by a third and halve Puhoi to Woodcocks Road journey times. Realigning the Matakana Link to the motorway roundabout would improve Puhoi to Matakana Road journey times. Having a single interchange to the north of Warkworth instead of two part interchanges would reduce costs. Doubling the capacity of the Hill Street intersection would produce benefits many times the cost.
The NZTA are seriously looking at how the Unitary Plan affects the feasibility and functionality of their projects.
Here is an updated graphic of what was discussed at the meeting. The options discussed were:
B (a southern motorway connection in addition to the existing proposed motorway connections);
A (an optimized interchange where there are northward facing connections, shown in pink);
C (a full interchange at Kaipara Flats Road and the removal of the purple section of motorway);
D (major upgrade of the Hill Street intersection to improve flow towards motorway connections);
E (realignment of the Matakana Link to the motorway connections);
There was this insightful table amongst the documents.
These figures are obsolete as the revised traffic projections show that intersection traffic by 2026 will be 44,550 vehicles per day - even with the motorway and the Matakana Link. But what this table confirms is that, although the Matakana Link (and even the Sandspit Link) reduces traffic through the Hill Street intersection, it isn’t the fix that many said it would be.
Thank you for subscribing and thank you to donors and volunteers who have got our campaign into full swing. Please contact us if you would like to donate, volunteer, or have any suggestions.
To make a donation, our bank account details are:
Account Name: “FixHillStreetNow Action Group” Bank Account Number: 12-3095-0042062-00.