I read with interest about the Rodney roads turning to “sludge” and what the Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan had to say about them (MM March 3).
To me, what he says reflects exactly what’s wrong with all 700km of our gravel roads. He obviously has no understanding of these roads and the people that have to drive on them. Is he from downtown Auckland or Mars? He comments that the damage was caused by heavy rain and dust generated by vehicles. He went on to say that reducing speed was the “single most important factor” to improving the condition of the road. He was quoted further, “If you and others in the community slow down, this will have the direct result of reducing dust. A vehicle slowing from 80kmph to 20kmph will reduce dust by 75 per cent.” But I would have thought that … 1) The single most important factor in improving these roads would have been regular maintenance. 2) That in your story and in the photos with it, there was no mention or sight of this said dust. Also, on the majority of these roads one cannot travel at 85kmph, you’re lucky if you can travel at 20kmph so where’s all this said dust?
But then who am I to comment on these matters when Mr Hannan is obviously highly qualified to comment? This district pays some of the highest rates in Auckland and can’t even get their roads maintained to a basic standard. We obviously pay far too much for certain officials who work for this Council. I live on Kaipara Flats Road and see the continuous lines of traffic which are diverted along this road, which runs on to Tauhoa Road, when the Dome Valley is closed two to three times every month. Moreover, allowing SH1 traffic to be diverted along this road is absolutely crazy. As Sam Ryburn says in the story, it was only built for horse and carts and is maintained to that same level. In the past 10 years how many millions of dollars from targeted rates, 15 per cent fuel surcharges, etc. etc. have Auckland Council collected from this district? Money that was meant for tar-sealing these gravel roads has been stolen by Council since the forced amalgamation, for their pink cycle lane, commuter trains, etc. etc. It does make you wonder where our rates go and why we have roads like we do.
Maury Purdy, Kaipara Flats
I read your article re. the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway (MM Feb 17) but could not find any reference to on or off ramps at Puhoi. This was an extremely contentious issue at meetings at Puhoi with the motorway people, where Mahurangi, Ahuroa and Puhoi residents were assured ramps would be built. Emergency access will certainly be available in case of accidents and could be utilised. Failure to provide ramps will greatly disadvantage people in the Mahurangi West and Puhoi areas who will be forced to use SH1 and consequently not contribute to toll revenue. The question of tolls was not covered and would be of real interest. It is difficult to believe this has not been canvassed at some stage in the planning process and the decision should be available. Hope you can shed some light on these very important issues.
Michael Malanot, Warkworth
NZTA spokesperson Darryl Walker responds: There is an off ramp at Puhoi for traffic heading north (but no on ramp). For traffic heading south there is an on ramp at Puhoi (but no off ramp). For Puhoi traffic going north to Warkworth, or for traffic from Warkworth going to Puhoi, drivers will use the current SH1. At this stage, we do not expect enough demand for a northbound on-ramp and southbound off-ramp at Puhoi for several years, and therefore they are not included in the current project. North-facing ramps also present a number of engineering and environmental challenges and would have a significant cost. The current designation has enough space for future ramps should they be required.
Editor: The tolling question has been covered extensively in MM. See“NZTA to submit proposal to toll Puhoi to Warkworth motorway” (MM March 3). Expect more coverage in future.