Another major transport project that the Transport Committee’s agenda provides an update on is a link between the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and State Highway 1, via a bridge across the Weiti River – a project commonly known as “Penlink”. This project has had a fairly turbulent history: first proposed as a toll road, then it was to be funded by the Regional Fuel Tax, then when that tax was abolished by the government, funding for PenLink somewhat disappeared again.
So it’s useful to have an update on where the project is at: Here’s an indicative map of the route: I’m not quite sure what I think of this project actually. On the one hand I think it offers a useful alternative to the existing road and really would make a difference for travellers between the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and Auckland. On the other hand I worry that it could increase development pressure on areas around Stillwater, which plays an important role as a greenbelt between the Hibiscus Coast and the rest of Auckland.
I suppose that if the road is tolled, to the extent that its funding doesn’t take money away from projects elsewhere that might be seen as a higher priority, and we ensure that the land-use planning restrictions on urbanisation around Stillwater remain tight, then there’s no real reason to oppose a project like this. I wonder if it would be popular with a $3-4 toll? That would pay for a pretty significant chunk of the project’s construction cost I think.