Roadworks in the Dome Valley started in 2019 and are scheduled to finish late this year.
Extensive roadworks in the Dome Valley have held up traffic for hours and forced two women to give birth in their cars, a frustrated Mangawhai commuter has discovered.
Electrician Greg Cramond commutes from Mangawhai to Auckland every week. He says the roadworks in the Dome Valley have left him with post traumatic distress disorder (PTSD).
He is not a lone voice. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has agreed to hold a public meeting to hear community concerns about its Dome Valley safety improvements project, following overwhelming public feedback.
Greg says he has counted up to 25 individual work sites in the Dome Valley at one time and as many as six “stop and go” sections.
“On many of those sections there was no evidence of any work being done. On several occasions the lane has been closed to provide a carpark for workmen’s utes, and other times there’s just a portaloo,” he says.
Greg says NZTA contractors begin work on a section and then move on to another section without completing the work or removing traffic management.
“They don’t have a clear plan, and there is no consideration for the users of the road. It has increased the Dome from a 15-minute to a 45-minute trip.”
Further, Greg says the completed areas seem to rapidly degrade, and he has had to replace three of his 22-inch alloy wheels due to damage from potholes.
He contacted the NZTA and representatives agreed to meet with him. Greg asked if he could bring other concerned members of the public, but was asked not to spread word about the meeting.
Greg decided to make a Facebook post to collect feedback in order to illustrate the level of community frustration to the NZTA. He was inundated with responses.
Some said it had taken them hours to travel through the Dome, others complained about regularly following contractor work vehicles long distances at 5kph for no apparent reason.
Among the most startling responses were two women who had given birth in their cars due to traffic in the Dome.
Greg says another common theme is the bright flashing lights on work trucks blinding drivers due to the otherwise low level of ambient light in the Dome. For truck drivers it’s even worse, because the lights are at head height.
NZTA took notice of the overwhelming public sentiment and agreed with Greg’s suggestion to hold a public meeting. But Greg says that was three weeks ago and he has not heard anything since.
The NZTA says that the date and location of the meeting would be announced on the NZTA Northland Facebook page. A spokesperson said NZTA would hold a public drop-in session to provide an update on the works and schedule for completion.
“We also want to hear community concerns regarding the project. We know the importance of working with the community to get the best outcomes and ensure road users, our staff and contractors are safe while these works are carried out.”