Rodney Local Board member Greg Sayers discusses the options for providing transport infrastructure in Warkworth with Mahurangi residents.
People in Warkworth had the opportunity to tell transport planners what is needed to ease the town’s traffic woes on March 1.
Planning staff from Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and NZTA were on hand to discuss transport options based on growth predictions that the town will increase five-fold in the next 30 years.
People appeared to relish the opportunity to get direct information on infrastructure planning in the area.
Council staff said they had a positive response from the public, but many people were frustrated at the long-term vision of the planning. The resounding response was “this looks great, but we want it now”, as one planner put it. Council planner David Taylor said Warkworth didn’t appear to have the opposition to growth and development that was at the forefront in other areas of Auckland.
“People seem to be accepting of growth, but they are more concerned about getting the infrastructure,” Mr Taylor said. “Other parts of Auckland want no growth at all.”
The information presented showed a range of roading options for Warkworth, including the Matakana Link Road and a Sandspit Link Road, the Puhoi to Warkworth Motorway and the Western Collector route.
NZTA planner Sebastian Reed said the Matakana Link Road, which would provide an alternate link from Matakana Road to SH1, was unlikely to be completed before the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway in 2022. Rodney Councillor Penny Webster said she was pushing for the road to be built as a construction road for the motorway, which could be used by quarry trucks. NZTA and AT have confirmed they are drafting an agreement to fast-track construction of the road to take pressure off Hill Street. Funding for the project won’t be confirmed until the transport budget is reviewed in 2018.
The Western Collector proposal, which would create a western link around Warkworth running from McKinney Road west through to Hudson Road, was another major project being explored.
Construction of the Mansel Drive bridge, which would provide a link between Woodcocks Road and Hudson Road, was due to start in a few months and would take about 10 months to complete. Wharehine Construction has been awarded the contract. AT staff were also exploring other options for connecting the route to SH1. To the south, it could run from Mansel Drive, around the Morrison Drive industrial area and through to McKinney Road, while to the north it could either connect to Hudson Road or a new road could be built to link it further north, near the planned exit of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway.
Using the feedback, planners will create a draft proposal to be released for further consultation next month.
AT traffic planner Ian Blundell said the draft should have a rough timeline of when transport infrastructure would be provided and consultation would likely run from mid April through to May.
Plans showing the future urban zone to be developed in Warkworth also hinted at what future development might look like. The plans showed a smaller ‘neighbourhood centre’ in the south of Warkworth, which would include a small shopping strip to service basic needs of the 3500 to 4100 houses expected to be built in the area. While in the north of Warkworth there would be a larger ‘local centre’ to service the 3200 to 3800 houses proposed, which would likely include a supermarket, retail and offices.