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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.

21 comments to PenLink

  • San Luca

    looking at that map, i don’t see huge time saving benefits of that route. 5-10 minutes max?

    • Marty

      Hi Luca
      I guess you need to have lived on a peninsular to understand. Every time we have an accident there is no way off and there are plenty that occur at the end of the peninsular that create the gridlocks you literally give up and go home. Several years back road widening was so disruptive it made the national News headlines 4-5 hours to get off the coast.

      Whangaparaoa is no longer a sleepy seaside resort – yes it is a nice place to live but we pay taxes and have every right to expect reasonable road access we are now just another Auckland suburb and a play ground for Auckland with the Parks and Islands at the end of the peninsular.

      It will never get any cheaper to do than right now I would bet the price has doubled since debates began.
      It reminds me of the safe boat ramps we dont have either not one safe pontoon ramp north of the bridge it a wonder any this ever get done the red tape is just insanely thick.

      • Matt L

        I don’t think that anyone denies it would be good for people on the peninsula to have this link but the thing is, you already have a good road connection, if accidents are the problem then those black spots could be fixed for much less than the $172 million price tag for this road. Yes it won’t get cheaper but there are other projects that could probably provide a better return on investment that this road and they won’t ever get cheaper either. Lets focus on those that will give us the best bang for our buck first.

  • Nightmare crushing of yet more countryside, IMHO

  • rtc

    Can’t say I agree with stretched funds being spent on this project, if you choose to live way out in the countryside for lifestyle reasons I don’t see why we should be spending so much on reducing your commute. Extend the busway perhaps.

  • Jeremy Harris

    This projects offers as much time savings per trip as Puhoi to Wellsford at a fraction of the cost…

    If Joyce wanted a project to bump up help north of Auckland economically this was it…

  • nzbcfanboi

    This would be good for the express buses heading from Gulf Harbour and Army Bay and regular buses if they decided to leave Silverdale out in future.But of course they wouldn’t have buses go down a toll road now would we?

  • Cam

    We can probably consider this funded no questions asked. After all it’s a road which means it has to be good for the economy ri

  • obi

    What sort of road is this going to be? Minor (one lane each way) expressway, or a local road that is soon going to be cluttered with shops, driveways, and other development typical of a NZ state highway?

  • Tim

    I’m split on the transport benefits here, but I’m pretty sure that the land use effects of this road will be horrific. Kiss goodbye to the greenbelt- all those landowners in the area between Albany and Orewa must be rubbing their hands in glee. This is the next battleground for urban sprawl in Auckland, and if the road goes ahead then the land use will follow. It’s not SH1…it will attract land uses that benefit from the passing trade and connectivity. To me this is a key test of whether Auckland Transport understands a key aspect of the role that it plays in developing the city….

  • morecityplease

    i had a prof that called this- privatize the profits and commonize the costs. Surely this suburb should be paying for its own road.

  • Luke

    Most of the land at Whangaparoa seems fairly well developed, not many large green spaces left.
    So therefore as long as there is no off-ramp at Stillwater there shouldnt be a problem.

    Dairy Flat is looking to be the major land-use disaster. The land holdings are very fragmented with many low density rural-residential sections. There needs to be some very serious planning done here very soon to ensure development is done well. The pressure will be huge as the North Shore doesnt have much undeveloped land left.

    • Tim

      Why would there not be an offramp at Stillwater? I can’t believe the locals would let that one slip by. It’s not Whangaparaoa that worries me – it’s the area between Stillwater and Silverdale, north of the bush zone. It’s all part of what appears to be Dairy Flat in the broader sense (I don’t know the area well), and as you intimate the likelihood is that development in this wider area will not be done well.

  • Brent C

    Any future Busway Extention to Owera would better serve the route along Penlink to connect with those residents on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. I don’t suppose that this would have been taken into consideration when planning this route. Possibly this could be a way of getting both of these projects off the ground and completed.

    • Janet

      Penlink provides an alternative route off the Pennisula. 5000 jobs and $279million GDP in to the economy plus alows the Knowledge economy to go ahead. There is an off ramp at Stillwater and a bus,cycle and walkway on the Penlink design route. what better way to have an express bus running from Whangaparaoa straight to the motorway instead of us all heading down to Silverdale which will be even more congested when Bunnings and Pak & Save are up and running. When the shops open there will be a fully signalised set of lights at East Coast Bays road intersection with everyone travelling north having to stop unlike now.

  • Luke

    some projects like this were designed by the individual Auckland councils so there area could compete against other councils. Now we have a super city, this should be the time to have a good look at all these projects.
    Especially given the depressed property market I hope progress is slowed down, this could save a fortune in new roading and infrastructure costs.
    Is it really best for Auckland region for Whangaparoa to be a major job centre?
    I would say no, its a stupid place, very isolated from the rest of the region.
    And as for a cycleway and walkway, sounds like green-washing to me. Where exactly is it going to go?
    Cant go down the motorway, so must go down East Coast road, which is narrow and not suited for cycling or walking.

  • Janet

    GDP and job comment is for the region. The Knowledge ecomony zone is ready to go but held up by objection of NZTA using Penlink needs to be in as the excuse. Green washing not!! that is what was required and yes Stillwater and whangaparaoa people can bike or walk between communities and East Coast Bays road. If as was suggested by some forward thinking councillors when the motorway came North that a bus or rapid transit lane for buses or light rail had been put in we wouldn’t be paying millions to have it done now.

  • Pacific


    Regarding your informative comments on Penlink I chasten you for not adding that if Whangaparaoaians looked at the current cost to their community of not immediately proceeding with Penlink they would be horrified then outraged.

    The distance saved by Penlink going from Oteha Valley to Gulf Harbour according to Wises is 12.2 Km. And when our average vehicle consumes 8.1 Km per litre of fuel at $2.35 per litre I am disgusted to learn that this represents a cost to our Whanagaparaoa community of $51 million annually of the extra mileage. And prices will continue to rise.

    So when Counselor Wayne Walker is happy to keep the Penlink plan on the books but fails consistently to fight for it until 2021, Whangaparoaians will be disturbed to learn they shall pay an additional $414 Million over those the intervening years to 2021 which is more than double the cost of carrying out Penlink’s construction and all of its connections including widening the safety parts of Whangaparaoa Road Immediately at current building costs.

    The Newmarket viaduct construction gantry which taken following the Waiwera Hill road tunnel is now available again. Why has it not been bought back. Why has not Penny Webster fought for Penlink?

    Why has Counselor Walker not fought to bring the gantry back here either? Is it because they have both been unbusy overseeing our funding being hijacked by Len Brown and the Unitary Plan whilst fobbing us off by putting on another couple of buses from Wade River Road?

    Delay is no friend of the many thousands of Whangaparoaians who try to feed and support their families with jobs in the cities. We can give them that $414 Million right now.

  • Peter

    If they want to build this then it should be a toll bridge. Otherwise it doesn’t seem justified, just to make the commute to Auckland faster for people who choose to live there.

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