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Auckland's notorious Hill Street intersection finally getting facelift

One of New Zealand's most notorious intersections is finally getting a facelift.

The Hill Street intersection in Auckland's Warkworth has been an infamous choke point since the 1970s - trapping holidaymakers and locals in its snare.

The intersection has bewildered and angered motorists in North Auckland for decades.

"I have no idea what's going on!" one person told Newshub.

The section of State Highway 1 in Warkworth has five intersections within 30 metres - with 55 different turning combinations.

Delays for several hours - and several kilometres - are common.

"The whole area depends on this one intersection and there aren't many alternative routes. So you just have to go through this monster of an intersection," says Fix Hill Street Now campaign member Grant McLachlan.

But now it's set to get fixed - Auckland Council has signed off on a long-awaited upgrade.

"This won't only benefit Aucklanders travelling north, but also the local community with their traffic congestion issues that they've had for many years," says Rodney Ward Councillor Greg Sayers.

The approved plan is to convert the intersection into a pair of roundabouts: with a large oval-shaped one on State Highway 1, and a smaller one at the intersection of Matakana and Sandspit Roads.

The design is similar to one pressure group Fix Hill Street Now proposed in 2016.

"The thing about a roundabout is it's self-regulating. You only have to look one way, you only have to look to your right to give way," McLachlan says.

The intersection is so confusing it forces drivers to slow down, therefore there are relatively few accidents.

But locals believe that lack of crashes is part of the reason why the intersection has been so far down the queue to get fixed.

"I'll be glad to get there before I'm on a mobility scooter!" Fix Hill Street Now campaign member Roger Williams says.

The upgrade will cost around $15 million - but will need to wait for a stretch of the Northern Motorway to be finished, then the intersection can be closed for re-construction.

"I think we're gonna have a party, aren't we?" McLachlan says.

That party could get started as soon as the end of next year.


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