Some news out of the NZTA today that they are revoking the state highway designation on a number of roads in the Auckland region. To be fair this isn’t something that is new and it has been signalled for some time and is even logical but the cynic in me can’t help but think that it is also partly in response to the belt tightening that the agency needs to be doing due to the effective cuts to maintenance in the government policy statement. Here is the press release:
Some 50 kilometres of Auckland roads have had their State Highway status uplifted and their ownership has been transferred from the NZ Transport Agency to Auckland Council, and they will now be maintained and operated as local roads by Auckland Transport.
At the same time, the city gains 14 kilometres of new State Highways as a result of the NZTA’s extensive motorway building programme.
The official process to uplift or revoke State Highway status affects six different sections of highway across the city – SHs 16, 17 18, 18A and 20.
The biggest change affects SH17 – also known as the Dairy Flat Highway and the Hibiscus Coast Highway. All 31 kilometres – between Albany, Silverdale, Orewa and Puhoi – loses its State Highway status.
”With the opening three-and-a-half years ago of the of the Northern Gateway Toll Road as part of SH1, there is now no need to maintain two State Highways so close to each other,” says the NZTA’s acting State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton.
Other sections that have been revoked are:
- SH16, Parnell (Shipwright Lane and part of Parnell Rise) – 200 metres approximately
- SH16, Westgate (Hobsonville Rd, Don Buck Rd roundabout, Fred Taylor Drive) – 4 kilometres
- SH18, Hobsonville Rd (Westgate overbridge to Monterey Park) – 5.5 kilometres
- SH18A, Greenhithe (part of Albany Highway and Upper Harbour Drive) – 4 kilometres
- SH20, Manukau (Redoubt Rd overbridge, Manukau Station Rd, Wiri Station Rd, Roscommon Rd to the new section the SH20 motorway) – 5 kilometres
The four sections of roading that have been declared as State Highways are:
- SH16, Parnell (intersection of The Strand/Shipwright Lane to intersection of Parnell Rise/Stanley St) – 200 metres
- SH16, Brigham Creek Extension (Westgate to Brigham Creek Rd) – 3 kilometres
- SH18, Hobsonville Deviation (Westgate Shopping Centre to Monterey Park) – 6 kilometres
- SH20, Manukau (SH1/20 interchange to Puhinui Rd overpass) – 5 kilometres
“All these new sections of State Highway reflect the huge roading investment in Auckland in recent years to complete the Western Ring Route as an alternative to SH1 and to improve the flow of traffic through central Auckland – the most heavily used section of our motorway network,” Mr Mutton says.
“The NZTA and Auckland Transport are committed to working together to rationalise the State Highway and local road network for the benefit of all drivers in Auckland.”
The NZ Transport Agency works to create transport solutions for all New Zealanders – from helping new drivers earn their licences, to leading safety campaigns to investing in public transport, state highways and local roads
As mentioned some of it pretty logical like Hobsonville Rd or the areas around Manukau due to the new sections of motorway that have opened up in those areas in the last year or two however other seem a bit more strange. The motorway that freed up Upper Harbour Dr has been open for years now while perhaps the strangest of the lot is SH1 between Orewa and Puhoi. I find that one strange because it was retained as the free route required as part of the development of the toll road so would have thought it would need to remain in NZTA hands. By transferring these roads to Auckland Transport, the NZTA are no longer responsible for maintaining them and while they would still provide some funding to help pay for things, at most it would only be 50%. That means that Auckland ratepayers now have 50km more worth of roads to look after while the NZTA has at worst cut its costs by half. I suspect they are going through their portfolio to see what other roads they can off load to local councils as an easy cost saving measure.