One Warkworth Business Association says a concerted and united effort by local community leaders and groups has succeeded in keeping hopes of a four-lane Matakana link road alive.
Last month, One Warkworth was pessimistic that the proposed 1.4km road linking Matakana Road to State Highway 1 would be four-lanes from the outset and feared that, at least initially, it would be only two-lanes and fail to adequately cope with expected traffic volumes.
But the latest communications One Warkworth has received from Auckland Transport (AT) indicate that four lanes from the outset is still on the cards.
One Warkworth spokesperson and former roading engineer, Dave Stott, says AT has committed to build as much of the road as it possibly can for the budget of $62.4 million.
“They have confirmed the budget will be fully expended, which previously was in doubt,” he says.
To test whether four-lanes is possible within the budget, Auckland Transport will invite contractors to tender for two versions of the four-lane option. One will be for four lanes over the entire route, including a bridge that crosses a gully. A second, cheaper option, will be to construct a four-lane road for 800 metres between SH1 and the bridge. The bridge and rest of the road will be two lanes.
Mr Stott says even if the cheaper option is selected, having four lanes for more than half the route would be a major improvement on two lanes for the entire route. It would facilitate traffic flows around intersections on the four-lane section and enable the intersections to be designed for four lanes at the outset, rather than having to adapt them at a later stage.
Mr Stott says AT has also taken on board community suggestions for helping to reduce construction costs, thereby making the four-lane options more likely.
These include having a walking/cycleway on the southern side of the road only, rather than on both sides, and by dumping excavated soil locally, with the agreement of local farmers, rather than carting it all the way to landfill at Redvale.
Mr Stott also commended AT for altering the road alignment to reduce the amount of excavation required and thereby further reducing costs.
One Warkworth deputy chair Mark Macky says the concessions wrung from AT shows what can happen when the community comes together and delivers a clear message.
“It’s about not leaving Auckland Council and the Council Controlled Organisations the room to do just what they want, but rather giving them a very clear steer from the community. It’s great to see what can happen when the community gets coordinated,” he says.
In particular, Mr Macky praised the advocacy efforts of local MPs – Mark Mitchell, Jenny Marcroft and Marja Lubeck – along with Councillor Greg Sayers, the Rodney Local Board and community groups from Omaha and the eastern beaches.
Meanwhile, AT spokesperson Mark Hannan says while the four lane options were being considered, it was early days and all were subject to approval not only from the AT executive, but also from the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Council.