A pedestrian and cycle crossing over Hibiscus Coast Highway at the southern entrance to Orewa (near Estuary Arts Centre) is on the community’s wish list and would be a much needed safety improvement, but Auckland Transport’s (AT) cost estimate of $390,000 could put it beyond the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board’s reach.
This one crossing could cost more than all four that were added in Orewa Town Centre a year ago, at a total cost of $381,000 plus $4800 for two safety audits.
Since then, the local board has been given a Community Safety Fund of just over $756,000 from AT’s safety budget. Members came up with four projects – all pedestrian crossings – that they hoped to spend the money on.
Two of them are in the North Shore area that the local board covers. The two local projects are both crossings over Hibiscus Coast Highway – the one in Orewa, at 214 Hibiscus Coast Highway, is to make it easy to connect from the popular Te Ara Tahuna walk and cycleway to the paths on the beach side, and the other is near the toilets at Hatfields Beach.
Initial consultations with AT’s experts recommended the one in Orewa be a signalised ‘Toucan’ crossing, which has a separate strip for walkers and cyclists. The signals operate when pedestrians push a button.
The Hatfields Beach crossing was adjusted to a pedestrian island refuge, due to speeds through that area, and was costed roughly at $260,000.
The total estimate for the local board’s four projects came to $1.1 million.
Local board chair Julia Parfitt says she was “gobsmacked” when she saw the suggested cost for the Orewa crossing but the local board is determined to make it happen.
She is meeting AT representatives soon to convince them that the Orewa crossing should be funded from AT’s larger pot of money for safety-related projects, due to its sub-regional significance.
“The consultant was surprised at the volumes crossing there,” Mrs Parfitt says.
AT’s figures show there have been three accidents causing injury at the site in the past five years, one of which was serious. A count done last year revealed that around 11,120 vehicles go through this location each day, each way.
AT spokesperson Mark Hannan says that the estimated cost covers preliminary and general works, traffic management, signs and markings, signals, CCTV, footpaths and urban design, including lighting.
Mrs Parfitt says she hopes to convince AT that the need for the Orewa crossing is urgent. “I hope it could be started before Christmas so it’s in place in time for the busy summer season,” she says. “We want to see this done and will ask for it to be made a priority.”