By last week, Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) had received more than 2500 submissions about the proposed tolling of the Penlink Road and bridge between Whangaparāoa peninsula and SH1.
Consultation to date has included drop in and online sessions, as well as public meetings.
Recently NZTA cancelled any further in-person meetings, including drop-in sessions at libraries, moving all consultation online “for public health and safety reasons under the red traffic light setting”.
One of the last to be held was in Stillwater on January 23 – a meeting which NZTAcommunications and engagement principal advisor, Austin Kim, describes as “a robust discussion”.
A key issue raised at the meeting was the proposed $3 (each way) toll during peak hours that Stillwater residents would face.
Co-chair of the Stillwater Community Association, Debbie Thearle, says under the proposal, Stillwater would face construction, ongoing traffic noise and environmental impacts as well as potentially being charged the most per kilometre for using the road.
“The challenge of having just one road in and out makes Stillwater different to the peninsula and charging us to use our only alternative route does not seem equitable,” Thearle says.
The residents requested more information from NZTA, including what the time saving for Stillwater residents is projected to be on a tolled versus an untolled road – for Whangaparāoa, the claim is a saving of seven minutes per journey at peak times.
Exit and entry points • Penlink connects to SH1 in the Dairy Flat area across SH1. However, the exact location of the connections between Penlink and SHI will not be known until the consortium selected by NZTA to build the road produces its design and that is made public, later this year. • The current proposal includes that people using the access roads to the Future Urban Zone and Weiti Precinct (Link Roads 1 and 2) would not be charged when travelling between their access roads and East Coast Road, as there is no alternative road. However, as they can use East Coast Road as an alternative road to access Penlink, they would pay a toll when using SH1 to get in or out of Penlink. • As proposed, the Penlink ramps at SH1 do not connect directly to East Coast Road. It would therefore not be possible to exit the motorway at Redvale and get directly onto East Coast Road. Instead, people would have to pay the proposed $1 toll at the SH1 Penlink interchange, then cross over SH1 and East Coast Roads before turning left and then onto East Coast Road at the existing Ara Weiti Road intersection to head north.