We’ve been thinking about killing two birds with one shot. No, not just because it is duck shooting season but because we reckon that the Matakana Link and Sandspit Link can be built with the same budget.
We have been asked by several subscribers which of Auckland Transport’s four options for the Matakana Link Road we support. Here are the four options being considered, after being narrowed down from ten initial alignments:
Effectively, the differences between the options are the destruction of a house (Options B & D), the avoidance of a wide section of bush (Options B-D), the avoidance of the showgrounds (Options A,C & D), and the avoidance of the Clayden Road intersection (Options B-D).
Although Auckland Transport assessed the options based on 10 criteria, the public isn’t spoilt for choice. As said previously inIssue 32, the connectivity with the Sandspit Link is the most important issue.
There are broadly two potential alignments for the Sandspit Link, one through the southern perimeter of the quarry and one to the north. Here is how they could look.
The most likely location for the Sandspit Link intersection is adjacent to the cattery on Sandspit Road. The general terrain is rolling country where cut-and-fill can maintain a consistent gradient and straighter alignment.
The difference between a northern Matakana Link/Sandspit Link intersection and a southern intersection is the escarpment earthworks to the east of Matakana Road. Also, there is plenty of material left to be extracted at the northern quarry face.
The developers of the land behind the showgrounds, who are also developing Stubbs Farm, also have their own plans. They are very much in their preliminary concept planning but have produced this scheme plan of potential land uses.
Ideally, Option C is the preferred option of the developers. Taking everything into account, including Sandspit Link, we concur.
The Matakana Link doesn’t come cheap. At a cost of $42m, it is twice the $21m benefits calculated (http://bit.ly/2m5rDrb). The road is only 1300 metres long, costing over $33,000 a metre.
We did some comparisons. As the table below demonstrates, the Matakana Link is built to a motorway standard, even though by Auckland Transport’s admission it won’t carry half the traffic that currently uses Sandspit or Matakana Road (or even Elizabeth Street). Even the motorway, when finished, will carry less than Sandspit Road, Great North Road, Browns Road, and Woodcocks Road.
It is one thing to “future proof” a road but it is unacceptable to spend so much on it that it delays other future proofing projects. A 30 metre corridor with two footpaths, two cycle lanes, and four lanes of traffic seems very gold-plated when there is no money for the Sandspit Link until at least another decade later.
We are wondering whether there is a way to build both the Matakana Link AND Sandspit Link at the same time.
For a 30-metre-wide corridor, we reckon that the Matakana Link can be built in two stages, allowing for Stage 1 of the Sandspit Link to also be built at the same time. The stages can be built according to the cross-section below.
The semi-transparent area to the right represents Stage 2. This stage can be completed as the northern growth Cells/Zones are developed and can be paid for using roading financial contributions ($6000+ per additional lot: http://bit.ly/1ODHpQT).
The obvious excuse of Auckland Transport would be that “it isn’t that simple.” The $42m has been allocated by the NZTA for a specific purpose and that $9.9m has been allocated just to buy the land for the Matakana Link road corridor. Really? $9.9m to buy a 30 metre wide, 3.9 hectare strip of rural land?
We say that it can be simple. Everything can be re-negotiated. Sandspit Link can be built in the same timeframe as the Matakana Link. Synergies could lower the overall costs of the projects.
Remember, the Hill Street intersection construction can start as soon as the motorway, Matakana Link, Western Collector, and Sandspit Link are completed. If there is money now to spend on the Matakana Link, why couldn’t that money be spread across the Sandspit Link? Two for the price of one – or a twofer - as they say.
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