Cheeky Rotarians fix Hill Street for a pittance

Mick Saunders and Jon Nicholson check out their new passing lane.

After decades of waiting for the notoriously clogged Hill Street intersection to be upgraded, Warkworth Rotarians decided to fix it themselves.

And while Auckland Transport improvement plans for the intersection will cost millions, Rotarians managed to open up a new lane to significantly alleviate congestion for a mere $88.

Rotarians Mick Saunders and Jon Nicholson noticed that larger vehicles heading towards the intersection along Sandspit Road were already making use of the unofficial extra lane by driving over the kerb just before Millstream Place.

This allowed such vehicles to access the intersection, Millstream Place and Elizabeth Street by passing traffic backed up along Sandspit Road on the left.

Unfortunately, these large vehicles had gouged a big hole in the soft earth just beyond the kerb, making it impassable for most cars.

Mick and Jon bought in 1.5 cubic metres of metal to fill up the hole.

The Rotarians spent an afternoon last month depositing and raking over the metal to create the new lane, drawing dozens of shouts of encouragement, thumbs ups and toots of support from passing motorists.

Mick was spurred to act after approaching Auckland Council and asking that the kerb be realigned to permit two lanes of traffic. He says he got nowhere, despite it being such a quick and easy job.         

“You just can’t get anything done by Council these days. It’s quite frightening,” he says.

“So, we thought we would do something about it.”

Jon adds that the Hill Street fix fits with Rotary’s mission to render assistance.

“We help out hospice, we help out with education projects and now we are helping out Auckland Council,” he says.


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