Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Do you care about the roads?

Well respond to Transit’s draft 2007/2008 Land Transport Programme, which lists the road projects Transit will be seeking funding for in the coming financial year and the priority given to them. Remember Transit does not fund anything, Land Transport New Zealand does, and Transit is purely state highways, not public transport.
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You can be sure that politicians who go on about their pet projects don’t bother to make a submission, but you should if something you think is worthwhile has a low priority or vice versa. Transit is seeking to spend $1.25 billion next year, of which £1.16 billion will come from your road taxes (the rest from borrowing against future toll income). The draft programme gives you maps showing where projects are and lists of projects and descriptions of what it sees as major issues.
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However Transit has taken a different approach to presenting all this information. You no longer get the estimated costs of future projects, lest it show that costs escalate year by year. You no longer get proposed exact years for starting construction, lest a project be advanced or another dropped. Much of this makes sense, but there are estimated costs behind major projects that Transit is not publishing
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You have until 30 March to make a submission.

Given my Wellington heritage, the main points for Wellington appear to be:
- Starting the Dowse to Petone interchange on the Western Hutt Rd (gets rid of the first two sets of traffic lights leaving Wellington and provides a new entrance to Hutt City from the south, relieving Melling bridge);
- Completing design and starting construction of Stage 1 of the Kapiti Western link road (a new route starting halfway between Waikanae and Waikanae Beach to Raumati via Kapiti Road, taking local traffic off of the highway);
- Designing and starting construction on an interchange at Haywards to replace the traffic light intersection between SH2 and SH58;
- Investigating and designing a major improvement to the Basin Reserve, meaning probably a flyover from Mt Victoria Tunnel to Buckle Street across the northern corner of the Basin (relieving bottlenecks around the Basin in the AM and PM peaks);
- Investigating and designing Transmission Gully.
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Hardly grand road building when only three major construction projects are set to start, (given one is complete and two more are about to be completed in the current year, it is really about maintaining the same level of activity). Of those three, two are just about getting rid of traffic lights on four-lane highways to make them run more efficiently, and the third is about providing a safer local connection in Kapiti Coast so that traffic (including cyclists and pedestrians) don’t have to mix with highway traffic. I’d be interested to see what Tom Beard thinks of this.
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Aucklanders can take heart that it is full steam ahead with a bunch of projects to be completed in the next year, and more to start such as the Hobsonville deviation (which will link the NorthWestern motorway to the soon to be completed Upper Harbour Bridge duplication and Greenhithe motorway to build a complete Upper Harbour Motorway from the North Shore to Waitakere), and Brigham Creek extension pushing the North Western motorway further towards Kumeu. Meanwhile lots of large motorway projects continue to be under construction, from the ALPURT motorway extension from Orewa to Puhoi, to extending SH20 north to Mt Roskill and south to the Southern Motorway. Most of this is a backlog of work that should have been built years ago.

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