Getting the Priorities Right for the Warkworth By-Pass

Northern Motorway - By-pass of Warkworth

The following is the content of my submission to the NZTA regarding the Warkworth to Wellsford motorway.
I urge you to make similar submissions before 28th January 2011. See NZTA Newsletter issue 4 20/10/2010 for the submission form.

Before making comment on the Indicative Route proposed for the Northern Motorway I feel it necessary to determine the main reasons for constructing such an expensive corridor north to Wellsford. I believe the main reasons for construction are –

1. To overcome traffic congestion in Warkworth township, especially at the Hill Street intersection.

2. To enable more traffic movement north - south with increased efficiency, and in less time.

3. Reduce the number of traffic related deaths in the area both north and south of Warkworth on State Highway 1.

If these objectives are to be met, it is obvious that the aim will be to avoid Warkworth at the earliest point in time, so that the township and surrounding northern lifestyle areas can be expanded.

Large trucks moving north and south have the effect of slowing traffic movement especially on the hilly, winding areas. This problem could be overcome by the re-introduction of rail freighting but this does not appear to be a consideration. The slowing down of traffic by trucks further aggravates the situation in Warkworth. To form the foundation for the Motorway large volumes of roading metal will be required, as was the case in the earlier Orewa - Puhoi development. This material is usually supplied from north of Warkworth and trucked to the spreading sites on the Motorway. It would therefore be preferable to reduce trucking movements on SH1 to a minimum, by avoiding trucking activity North / South on the existing highway to southern points of construction.

Taking the above factors into consideration it is going to be important to reduce truck movement on State Highway 1, and in order to do this, bypass Warkworth as early in the development as possible. For this reason I suggest that Stage 1 of the Motorway should befrom Kaipara Flats Rd / SH1 intersection to the nearest accessible point to SH1south of Warkworth, perhaps Moirs Hill Rd or Perry Rd. Traffic could use this section early in the construction and relieve pressure at Warkworth Township.

The first stage could be constructed in 2 parts:

A base for four lanes, with the finished four lane junction to SH1 to Warkworth.

A two lane metalled and sealed section to an off ramp to State Highway 1, e.g. Moirs Road access. Traffic could then use the two lane connection to the existing State Highway and relieve pressure on Warkworth Township roading.

In order to make this fully effective, a Super City initiative providing an alternative traffic access from Matakana Road to State Highway 1 at the entry point to the Motorway, should also be constructed further relieving pressure at the Hill Street intersection.

In summary, my suggestions are:

Commence Motorway development from the northern end (or alternatively both ends) in order to achieve the earliest aims for the provision of a Motorway North. It would be necessary to complete the development of the four lane junction to State Highway 1 at the northern end early in the construction of the motorway (See diagram)  This completion would ensure the smooth movement of traffic from the north onto the motorway under construction for the next few years and ensure traffic relief in Warkworth.

Reduce the movement of metal trucks and tourist traffic through the Hill St. intersection at the earliest possible time in the construction, especially if roading metal is to be supplied from the north of Warkworth.

Provide a two lane highway with temporary access to State Highway 1 at some point south of Warkworth so that traffic problems can be relieved as soon as possible.

I have lived in and around Warkworth for more than 50 years and have attended meetings for more than 40 years on Hill Street traffic issues. To date little if anything other than traffic light installation has been done. The bypass is the first intelligent move to improve the situation. Although I am unlikely to use any of the benefits this motorway construction will provide, I believe it is in the interest of national transport and especially North of Auckland that this Motorway, with its bypassing of Warkworth, be provided as soon as possible. `Time is of the essence’ if prevention of further loss of lives and the development of North Auckland is to be achieved.