The NZ Transport Agency will investigate adding a third interchange on the new motorway networks proposed for Warkworth.
This follows a meeting with NZTA and Auckland Transport officials in Warkworth on March 30, with One Warkworth Business Association, Warkworth Area Liaison Group, Snells Beach Residents & Ratepayers, and Rodney Local Board representatives. The quarterly meetings are organised by Rodney MP Mark Mitchell.
One Warkworth deputy chair Mark Macky said when the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway was first mooted, NZTA had no idea that Warkworth would become a satellite town of Auckland.
“They realise now that the population predictions under the Unitary Plan have put a whole different perspective on where the population hubs will be,” Mr Macky says. “We gave them the example of places such as Pokeno and Te Puke, which have both northern and southern interchanges, and yet Warkworth will be bigger than both those towns eventually.”
One Warkworth is advocating for a full interchange at Valerie Close, in addition to the interchanges proposed at Woodcocks Road, on the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway, and Kaipara Flats, on the Warkworth to Te Hana motorway.
The assessment of a possible third intersection will happen as part of the future stages of the Transport for Future Growth investigations.
NZTA highway manager Brett Gliddon says NZTA will review to see whether any of the factors used in the 2010 analysis on where to site the interchange have changed significantly and whether a further connection would be justified.
He says the decision to build an interchange to the north of Warkworth was based on community feedback and four key advantages:
- The best connections between the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway and the eastern beaches including Matakana/Sandspit, especially in peak traffic periods
- Responded best to the proposed future growth to the north of Warkworth including planned community and industrial developments
- Reduced traffic past Mahurangi College and Warkworth Primary School, which will improve safety through this area
- Required the least amount of work to the local road network
Mark Mitchell said it would be extremely difficult to include the interchange on the Puhoi to Warkworth project, given that the contract was already let.
“Although NZTA made it clear that any southern interchange would not be prioritised over what is already in the plan, they have agreed to take a fresh look at the suggestion,” Mr Mitchell said.
Mr Macky says all the southern land marked for future urban was on the market and it was important to secure the designation for the interchange before it was too late.
“We’re very pleased NZTA is taking a long-term view of planning for Warkworth,” he says.