An interchange on Woodcocks Road, where it intersects with the new motorway, could service Warkworth’s industrial zone. Pictured here, the motorway seen from Wyllie Road.
The lack of a southern interchange on the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway to service industry around Woodcocks Road will force a growing number of heavy trucks to drive past schools, local businesses say.
In April, it was revealed that a southern interchange, originally planned for Valerie Close south of Warkworth, was not funded in the 10-year Regional Land Transport Plan by the New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Transport.
Dave Wyatt, of Wyatts Haulage and Landscape, says it means that the growing industrial area around Woodcocks Road will continue to funnel heavy truck traffic past Mahurangi College.
“We have truck and trailers visiting the yard on Woodcocks Road daily, and we’re just one of the businesses here,” he says.
Dave points out that the Warkworth Structure Plan indicates that a further 40 hectares of heavy industrial zoned land adjacent to Woodcocks will come online between 2028 and 2032.
“It is going to affect everyone. It makes sense to plan ahead for this.”
His suggestion is that an interchange be built where Woodcocks Road intersects the motorway, near Carran Road. He says NZTA already owns the land, which neighbours the Wyatts yard.
As plans stand, the only alternative route from the industrial area to the motorway on-ramp north of Warkworth is via Mansel Drive and Falls Road, and then making use of either Hudson Road or Hill Street.
Dave says NZTA is understandably reluctant to provide companies with heavy traffic permits for those routes.
“There are houses along the route, including Summerset retirement village and the new subdivision on Falls Road. Who wants truck and trailers driving past their house all the time?”
The Hill Street route would also mean a stream of heavy trucks driving past Warkworth School.
Transcon managing director Blake Noble believes it is an inevitability that a southern interchange will be built. In his opinion, NZTA is biding its time until it has certainty about whether it can acquire the land around Valerie Close.
However, he says unless a southern interchange is built, it is likely that Transcon trucks will continue to drive to Puhoi to get on the motorway, bypassing the new motorway altogether.
Stephen Murphy of Warkworth Container unloaders on Woodcocks Road says the absence of a southern interchange is “absolutely crazy”.
“We’ve been to the transport forums and the consultations and told them this, but the Government [agency] doesn’t listen,” he says.
“For an extra few million now, it would be a much better outcome for Warkworth.”