The newly released draft Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan has allocated about $1.3 billion to transport-related projects in the Mahurangi area of Rodney alone.
Rodney councillor Greg Sayers says although actual funding for some of these projects is still dependent on funding coming from alternative sources, such as the regional fuel tax and central government, the fact that they at least appear in the plan is something to celebrate.
Highlights of the draft plan include $29 million to fix the Hill Street intersection and quadrupling of the road sealing budget to $121 million.
“This is the largest amount of money ever proposed for helping to fix the Mahurangi district’s traffic problems. It shows that Auckland Council is finally starting to recognise Rodney’s voice,” he says.
Cr Sayers says it’s the first time ever money has been proposed to fund work on Hill Street to manage current and future demand. Moreover, improvement efforts there will be bolstered by a further $51 million to realign Sandspit Road, which will also benefit traffic negotiating the intersection.
Other notable gains include:
• $89 million for the Matakana Link Road
• $773 million to complete the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway
• $30 million for safety improvements on the road through the Dome Valley to Wellsford
• $15 million for a Warkworth Park & Ride near the end of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway.
• $68 million for the Western Collector – a two-lane road to improve connections in the western part of Warkworth.
• $2 million to upgrade the Matakana Bridge.
Cr Sayers will also advocate to get the Rodney Local Board’s transport budget tripled from $300,000 to $1 million to deliver more local projects like footpaths, pathways, pedestrian crossings and numerous overdue road safety improvements.
Cr Sayers believes Rodney’s big wins have come about due to community pressure to ensure Rodney gets a fair return for its rates and discontent over the Hill Street intersection.
“The money for Hill Street is definitely a reflection of the hard work done by many community groups, especially Fix Hill Street Now,” he says.
Cr Sayers says a shift in government transport policy with a renewed emphasis on health and safety has also helped – hence a move towards sealing unhealthy and dangerous unsealed roads.
The Regional Land Transport Plan sets out the region’s land transport objectives for the next 10 years and includes the activities of Auckland Transport (AT), the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), KiwiRail and other agencies.
It is due to be ratified by Auckland Council’s governing body on May 31 following public consultation.
Cr Sayers says he will have no hesitation in voting for the plan.