Auckland Transport (AT) will press ahead with plans to install a “safety” crash barrier on Sandspit Road despite complaints from local landowners who say it will actually create a traffic hazard.
The barrier will be located on the southern side of a section of Sandspit Road, east of Hamilton Road.
But landowner representative Gary Heaven says that particular section of Sandspit Road is one of the safest.
“In the past 15 years there have been several fatal and non-injury accidents near Hamilton Road, but all of these were west of Hamilton Road,” he says.
“We believe the proposed works will at best be a waste of money and more likely be obstructive and make the road less safe.”
Mr Heaven says the location of the barrier will effectively make a narrow section of road even narrower.
This will create a problem as the road at this point is used for moving farm machinery between blocks on both Solway and Adolph farms.
“The proposed barrier will not allow traffic to safely pass a tractor or baler on an otherwise clear section of road,” he says.
Mr Heaven adds that maintenance vehicles clearing drains use the location of the proposed barrier to park off the road.
“The barrier will force road closures for these activities,” he says.
Other problems Mr Heaven anticipates include restricted access for weed control, impeding school buses turning at Hamilton Road and impeding access for walkers and cyclists.
Mr Heaven has found support from Rodney Local Board deputy chair Beth Houlbrooke, who says the Board had originally been advised of the safety works in March last year. She says she recalls querying the necessity of the barrier at the time, as there were other more glaring priorities to be dealt with on Sandspit Road.
“I heard nothing further and assumed the work wasn’t going ahead or must have been cancelled due to Covid-related budget cuts,” she says.
However, a letter to local residents at the end of March confirms that Auckland Transport intends to progress the barrier, which is due to be completed by the end of next month.
AT spokesperson Mark Hannan said Sandspit Road is a high-risk site based on its collision history and risk profile, and the purpose of the barrier was to prevent vehicles inadvertently going into the forested area on the southern side of Sandspit Road, or into the roadside drain.
Mr Hannan said the barrier has been peer reviewed by an independent consultant to ensure that it did not compromise the safety of road users such as bike riders.
“There will be a minimum sealed shoulder of 2.2 metres between the barriers and the existing white edge line. We will maintain the existing sealed area for on-road cyclists or farm traffic,” he said.
Mr Hannan added that roadside barriers were appropriate for rural roads like Sandspit Road.
“We are also making improvements to the road surface – this work and the widening of the road shoulder has started and should be completed by the middle of July, depending on the weather,” he said.
Mr Hannan said AT was also investigating other safety improvements at the intersection of Sandspit Road and Sharp Road. Once its investigations were completed, it would consult with the community.