Community representatives celebrate success at the sod-turning ceremony for the Matakana link road.
Senior Government and Auckland Council representatives heaped praise on the efforts of local community leaders in successfully paving the way for the construction of a four-lane Matakana link road in a ceremony last month.
The co-operative effort has been hailed as a shining example of how local communities can successfully negotiate with Government and Councils to secure the best outcomes for their communities.
At a sod-turning ceremony at Warkworth Showgrounds on June 30, Minister of Transport Phil Twyford, Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff and Auckland Transport (AT) chief executive Shane Ellison paid tribute to the efforts of local MPs Marja Lubeck and Mark Mitchell, Rodney Local Board deputy chair Beth Houlbrooke, local iwi Ngati Manuhiri, Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers and local contractor Wharehine.
Mr Goff said local advocacy efforts had been instrumental in ensuring the construction of a four-lane road when previously AT had considered building only two lanes.
“It’s going to have a big impact on reducing congestion around the Hill Street intersection and helping to access beaches at Leigh, Omaha, Snells Beach and around the coastline,” he said.
During the ceremony, One Warkworth Business Association’s efforts in making the business case for four lanes was highlighted, along with Mr Mitchell’s work in negotiating with landowners to avoid lengthy appeals by them in the Environment Court.
Afterwards Dave Stott, of One Warkworth, said during negotiations AT went from being hostile to community concerns to becoming willing partners in helping them achieve their objectives.
Mr Stott said a key to that turn-around was being able to share the technical knowledge available within the community, including his own engineering qualifications, that of transport engineer Roger Williams, of the Warkworth Area Liaison Group, and contractors Wharehine and NX2.
“What we managed to achieve would be an example to other communities,” he said.
Wharehine general manager Andy Booth, whose company was awarded the contract to build the $62 million road, said the construction of the link road will involve more than 120 staff and the company is interested to hear from job applicants, especially those with experience in earthmoving and other specialist equipment.
“We pride ourselves on employing locally. This is a great opportunity for us to employ local young people and provide excellent training over a number of civil engineering disciplines,” he said.
Meanwhile, all aggregate and concrete for bridge works, associated footpaths and cycleways will be sourced locally.
Mr Booth said he saw no problem with having the link road built in time for the opening of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway, now scheduled to be open in time for Queen’s Birthday weekend in 2022.
“The advantage of being local is that we have worked extensively with ground materials in this area,” he said.
Mr Booth said most of the project is being built on a greenfield site, which will ensure less disruption for the travelling public, though he anticipated there would be some traffic management challenges involved in the construction of the roundabout tie-in at Matakana Road.
“Construction of a temporary road and staged civil works will help minimise any disruption during this portion of the project,” he said.
The 1.35km Matakana link road will connect State Highway 1 and Matakana Road. It is designed to better manage increased traffic flows as Warkworth continues to grow, and alleviate pressure on the notoriously congested Hill Street intersection.