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March 2010 letters

23 Mar 2010 11:20 pm

SH1 roadworks shambles
By Richard Foulkes, Matakana

As a daily user of SH1 through Warkworth I have been surprised how little published comment the roadworks on SH1 have garnered to date. February’s article about the slower trade in Warkworth over the break possibly being due to the roadworks is the first mention I have seen in print about the adverse affect on the community these roadworks and the new road design are having.
The whole design is fundamentally flawed and when it is eventually completed will not ease anyone’s journey one iota. This is hardly a surprise given the traffic engineer looks to be too young to even hold a driver licence and was somewhat over excited to be inflicting his inaugural traffic design on unsuspecting SH1 motoring guinea pigs.
Back to the physical roadworks, I could go on at some length about the time they are taking, the amount of machinery sitting idle and the dearth of actual activity over the whole project term. Whole motorway systems have been built in Auckland (yes Auckland!) while this project has been in process. Even the usual standard for tardiness, the NZ school committee system, has managed to build a new hall at Mahurangi College inside the time it is taking to build a couple of footpaths and install the standard extra set of traffic lights along SH1.

NZTA replies:
Ewart Barnsley, Auckland media manager, NZTA
The NZ Transport Agency is committed to ensuring that the impact on the people of Warkworth from its projects is kept to a minimum. The NZTA is working with its contractors to ensure that commitment is not only met, but also improved.
The improvements to upgrade SH1 intersections with local roads began after there had been widespread consultation with the community so that people of Warkworth had to chance to understand and to respond to the work being planned. The projects are complex and not confined just to road improvements: the NZTA is also upgrading facilities for Warkworth's pedestrians and cyclists, and to services such as drainage, water mains and power.
Investigations indicated that the congestion issues are based around the current design of the intersections with SH1 and its ability to cope with the Warkworth region's rapid growth. The NZTA is confident that the improvements, when completed, will be a positive benefit for the people of Warkworth, visitors to the town and the surrounding regions, and to those using SH1 to travel to places beyond Warkworth.