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Warkworth to Wellsford boondoggle route announced

Since 2009 when the Roads of National Significance were first announced we’ve talked a lot about the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway the NZTA has now started building. We’ve long had issues with the project, mainly due to its high cost for comparatively little demand outside of a few holiday periods. But the project was only ever the stage one of a larger scheme to extend the new road further north to also bypass Wellsford.

Not long after originally announced, the section from Warkworth to Welllsford appeared to have been relegated into a vault somewhere at the NZTA. That’s in part because the last we had heard, it was that they were struggling to even find a route to use thanks to the tricky geology in the area. Here’s what they said in 2011 about it.

“Every time you put a spade in the ground up there you’ve got to put in retaining structures, or tunnels or something.

“The level of ground movement is more than we had anticipated, which makes huge problems and huge costs.”

In fact we thought it had been put so far to the back of the vault by the NZTA that it might not surface again, and that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

Despite the challenging ground conditions, on Tuesday, the NZTA announced that they now have an indicative route for the project

The NZ Transport Agency says the proposed route for a new road between Warkworth and Wellsford announced today will make traveling between Northland and Auckland safer, faster and easier.

It has shared an Indicative Route for the Warkworth to Wellsford section of the Ara Tūhono Pūhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance.

“Building an off-line motorway, completely separate from the existing State Highway 1 will improve safety, reduce congestion and support Northland’s economic growth,” says Ernst Zollner the Transport Agency’s Northland Director.

“Removing sharp bends, providing better passing opportunities and a dual carriageway to separate north and southbound traffic will improve safety and is predicted to reduce the fatal and serious injury crash rate by 80% through this area.”

Due to the natural environment through the Dome Valley, State Highway 1 is susceptible to flooding, slips and ongoing repairs. The location of the new motorway, to the west of the Dome Forest, will provide a reliable alternate route between Northland and Auckland.

The Indicative Route ties into the local road network helping to connect local communities.

It joins the Pūhoi to Warkworth section of motorway near Kaipara Flats Road. It will then travel on the western side of the Dome Valley until it reaches the Hoteo River where it will cross eastwards over the existing SH1 to an interchange proposed at Wayby Valley Road in Wellsford. Another motorway interchange is proposed near Mangawhai Road, with the motorway then meeting the existing State Highway 1 north of Vipond Road.

“Once the motorway is built travel will also be safer for local road users because 90% of regional traffic, especially heavy traffic, can avoid townships making their main streets safer for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.”

The Indicative Route will be shared with the public for their feedback which will help further refine the route. If the route is confirmed it will be taken forward for consenting and route protection by 2018.

While the NZTA don’t plan to officially release the route till this weekend when they hold the first of their public open days (see here for them), Local Matters which covers the North Auckland area has published this map showing the route which even suggests a potential tunnel along the route.

Like with the Puhoi to Warkworth section, our major problem with this project is the share cost of it compared to how much it will be used. The Puhoi to Warkworth section is around 18km and costing, though a PPP, about $710 million. Currently just over 21,000 vehicles travel the road south of Warkworth daily. It had a benefit cost ration of about 0.9 so in other words we get about 90c of benefits for every dollar we spend on it.

By comparison this new section is about 24km in length, though what sounds like even more challenging terrain with potentially a tunnel meaning the cost will almost certainly be much higher than the Warkworth leg. Earlier estimates put this section at about $1 billion but I suspect it could now easily top that. What’s more the current segment of road this is intended to replace carries only about half the traffic of SH1 at just over 10k vehicles per day.

Here’s a comparison of the vehicle volumes for the 20 years showing this section sees just over 10k vehicles per day with possibly slightly more. To put that in perspective, some of our urban roads in Auckland carry more traffic than each sections of roads

Here are a few other quick thoughts that have run though my head about this project.

It’s not about Northland – The government, and those who have pushed the project the hardest, love to claim that the point of the project is to improve the economy of Northland. Spending this money this project in Northland itself would provide better outcomes. As Peter suggested the other day.

Why Now? – It’s been almost nine years since the Government launched the RoNS and I can’t help but wonder if the NZTAs latest push on this project is related to the election later this year. The government will of course be keen to reclaim the Northland seat off Winston Peters.

Where’s the business case – surely self explanatory

Operation Lifesaver – Based on other projects and even if the NZTA push on at this time, it’s likely to be a decade or more before complete. This once again raises the issue of Operation Livesaver, the purpose of which is to implement a range of safety and other enhancements to the existing route which could be done now. Given it would also be much cheaper it could see improvements extended further closer to Whangarei.

Any bets on the cost of this and the BCR?

108 comments to Warkworth to Wellsford boondoggle route announced

  • scott

    how many lives with this save?

    • Ben10

      in 2015, 23 people died in Northland.. compared to 52 people in Auckland, 69 in Waikato, 29 in Bay of Plenty.

      Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty seems to all have higher death spots than Northland, but why is Northland getting this much funding?

      • Alan J

        Because the people of Northland voted for Winston Peters.

      • Ricardo

        Probably because ultimately the natural expansion of Auckland is northward. Whangarei is currently commutable by some – this will help.

        • Ben10

          Current Auckland expansion is Southwards, it has more flat lands and has got good connectivity to the rest of NZ. While Northland Geographical Isolation make it less ideal for Auckland Expansion.

          • Angus Robertson

            Current Auckland expansion is northwards with most suburban growth going into the hills and valleys of the old Rodney District. This northern sprawl plan poses difficulties of access and the area is very expensive to develop infrastructure for.

            Auckland Council has forbidden development on the vast majority of the flat land adjacent to the south of Auckland City. These flat lands would be very simple to develop and could mesh inexpensively with current infrastructure.

            Such are the joys of Auckland planning.

          • The South is getting more development than the North or Northwest
            https://youtu.be/E1V70nxCbb8

          • Sacha

            Angus, the flat land to the south happens to be the most ideal place to grow Auckland’s food due to its soils and climate. Put your sprawl somewhere else, thanks.

        • Josh

          Natural expansion of Auckland is southwards, northwards and westwards. Of course also upwards.

        • Bryce P

          Encouraging people to commute from Whangarei to Auckland would have to be a reason not to build this. At 2hr roughly, even with this madness, it’s a terrible use of transport dollars.

  • randomguy

    Can they divert the money to extend the Waikato Expressway or connect it to Tauranga? I reckon the Bay of Plenty needs a connection more than Northland. Build it where there is jobs, not wishful thinking jobs like Northland.

  • Cargill_Street

    It’s not about the Northland Region, but Wellsford, Te Hana, Te Arai, etc. are located in the Northland electorate, as you have rightly pointed out.

  • Cost: $1.5b
    BCR: 0.1
    If the rate of accidents dont improve then -0.1

    Operation Lifesaver
    Cost: Fraction
    BCR 1.5-2.0

    Both have potential to save lives – question is do we want to gold plate or do what is actually required…..

  • If this was about Northland proper then the money would be used fixing the NAL to allow freight and passenger movements

    • Bigted

      The reality is there is not enough freight going from one point to another to make rail viable in the north, the NAL line (north of Auckland) is a dog and will never be a realistic option for anything more than it is currently used for.

      • Marsden Point is a deep water port (14.5m vs Auckland at ~12m), and would make a lot of sense to be used significantly if there was a good rail connection to Auckland. If NAL were upgraded this would be possible.

        • Bigted

          Marsden Point is not a sensible alternative to the POA (it is too far) and if it was used the NAL would need to be completely rebuilt (possibly even with large sections in a different places to were they are now) to make it a viable option to even move freight from Marsden Point to Auckland.

          • NorthPort would be a very sensible place to move the imported vehicle operations to. These are not time critical and NorthPort own plenty of land to enable it.

      • National has put all it’s eggs in one basket and ignored rail as an alternative to road haulage as a means of reducing traffic and maybe it’s to late to change tack now but we should work on efficiency of energy use and which transport sector is the easiest to electrify to cut our need for oil. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/07/oil-market-faces-supply-crunch-within-a-year-warns-hsbc/

      • Jezza

        Spot on Bigted. Marsden Point is a good deep water location, but that’s where it’s benefits end.

        It’s on the wrong side of Auckland to get the benefit of the golden triangle.

        It’s not a major export port like Tauranga so doesn’t benefit from the bi-directional container traffic which helps keep Tauranga’s costs down.

        There are plans post CRL to have the NAL having trains running every 2.5 mins on some sections, which would probably mean 5 mins off-peak, which would rule out freight trains for a large chunk of the day.

        • Golden Triangle, psh. Auckland is the middle of the Tauranga, Hamilton and Whangarei triangle that I call the THAW. Whangarei is rapidly spawling into Bream Bay and is possibly even moving it’s airport there.

          • But Whangarei is economically insignificant by comparison with the triangle. It simply isn’t correct to include it if what it is meant to catch is the powerhouse of the North Island economy, and it is. AKL-HAM-TAU is the engine.

        • We always talk about roads inducing demand. I think this is one case where we want it to. South of Whangarei is tough terrain for a road but also tough terrain and poor soil for farming and other potential land uses. I’d rather see that land go into residential use (lifestyle blocks, retirement homes, etc) than the beautiful fertile farmland south of Auckland. Bream Bay in particular will continue to boom whether the port is rail connected or not. It’s the logical, flat seaside area to absorb Whangarei’s growth resulting from Auckland overflow. The only downside of living there at the moment is SH1. It’s like living on an island sometimes and rail isn’t going to change that but a road with two lanes will.

          • Josh

            There is already a road here though, which in general apart from a few times a year is relatively congestion free. I’m not expecting much induced demand on this stretch. Improvements are safety related, which cheaper alternatives can also solve.

      • Bryce P

        Freight to Northport, from local sources, is quite substantial. Most forests in Northland are not far from a rail line. Northport receives 160+ truck-trailer loads of logs daily.

        • Bigted

          From several different places, rarely from places with or even close to a rail head so would need to still get to the rail by truck the port is not actually that much further.

        • 160 trucks per day or 6.6 per hour. If this was Auckland and it was buses, if someone mentioned it to AT, then they would start to survey the situation. In Whangerei someone has deemed it necessary to build a substantial widening of the road over many many kilometres around the town centre.
          Quite frankly an approach like this is cow excrement when amongst other things Aucklanders struggle to access their international airport. In my view Minister Roads and Bridges simply has no idea. I notice he thinks it a marvelous idea to build an express way near Peka Peka (yeah I know, where the hell is that and much less, who the hell cares). (It was impossible to tell from the photo shoot that I saw whether he had his hands in Ken Shirleys pocket, but he was certainly reported to be whispering all the right things in his ear).

        • Truck to the port and ship it to Tauranga, the shipping bit is pretty efficient I would suspect, avoiding the windy way all through Auckland etc. Forrest harvest points probably come and go like the wind up there? On the other hand, perhaps some central Northland forest rail hub could be established so all trucking avoids the populated areas as much as possible.

  • Paul W

    I bet the trucking industry is rubbing it’s hands with glee over this new road. Meanwhile the rail system up north is neglected to the point of it nearly being closed.. The road does need improving but a 4 lane expressway??

    • Brendan

      Are the truckres excited because the pricing doesn’t correctly reflect the cost of the road damage.

      According to a GAO study, Excessive Truck Weight: An Expensive Burden We Can No Longer Afford (http://archive.gao.gov/f0302/109884.pdf), road damage from one 18-wheeler is equivalent to at least 9600 cars (p.23 of study, p.36 of PDF).

      So if the cost of using the toll road will be $2.30 for cars, the correct price for 18-wheelers should be $22,080 per trip.

  • Sailor Boy

    Even if we want to spend $1b and it must be on a four lane expressway then there are so many better options. The Bulli Point bypass, SH29 Piarere to Kaimais, Tirau, Putaruru, Levin, Bulls & Sanson bypasses, Napier-Hastings Expressway, Christchurch Northern or Southern Motorway extensions.

  • Waspman

    Could it be that Nationals donors are getting a little impatient and want to see real reward right now from their money, hence the urgency after all these years to spend up large on you and me? The other gravy trains like Waterview are coming to an end!

  • Angus Robertson

    The newly formed Auckland Unitary Plan has Future Urban Zones that triple the size of Warkworth and double the size of Wellsford. Auckland Council has decided this region is to have lots of intensity sprawl by 2040. With dispersed/remote low intensity sprawl pervasive, it is obvious that car travel will be a growing concern.

    • That was apart of play by a NZTA.

      Council put that growth in after the govt/NZTA said they were building the road regardless so might as well make use of it. NZTA then turned around and used growth being in plans as part of their business case for building the road.

      • Angus Robertson

        The fascinating criteria which Auckland Council follows before a doubling of urban land area.

        This is not the only time the government has built infrastructure in Auckland region:
        – the motorway from Albany to Dairy Flat which has ability to couple directly to the northern busway and support intensive development.
        – the improvement of motorway and rail service connectivity to Takanini/Papakura, an area currently undergoing medium density expansion on a small amount of land.
        – Swanson Railway Station as part of $2billion taxpayer upgrade has attracted medium density housing on the small permissible area of adjacent land.
        – SH18 which was opened a few years ago, closely proximate to the Waitemata Harbour and existing transport networks.
        – this SH1 upgrade between Warkworth and Wellsford miles away from anything and only capable of supporting car-centric sprawl.

        All were opportunities to double the amount of urban land made available for housing. Only one met the strict criteria of Auckland Council, truly amazing.

    • While increasing numbers of people will live in Wellsford and surrounds this is all built into the calculation of the BCR and the result came up short so it was fudged by changing the discount rate.
      This road is a complete waste of money and as others have said, do something more worthwhile.

  • Missing Link

    Well if Puhoi to Warkworth had a cost of about $700 mill and had a BCR of just over one, I’d guess Warkworth to Wellsford will cost twice as much and have the same sort of benefits. So a BCR of around 0.5-0.6 maybe…

  • Andy C

    The next link will be to bypass Brynderwyn Hill – we will eventually wind up with a 4 lane expressway from Whangarei to beyond Hamilton which will very much open up the top part of the country, Like it or not, people live in Auckland because it is warmer than areas to
    the south (I am talking year-round) and has good access to great beaches, but Whangarei has even warmer weather, a proper deep sea port that is under-utilised, even better beaches and is currently a lot cheaper to buy land. All that is missing is high quality road and rail links, which would support an expanded port and allow for POA to be closed to freight altogether.
    This of course needs to be done in conjunction with improved road and rail links from Hamilton to Tauranga (which would be used by Auckland traffic as well), then we will have a very efficient and productive area of NZ!

  • Sean S

    As somebody living in Northland who travels this route quite often, I would prefer a more conservative package of road improvements than this behemoth motorway, with the left over money used to fund improvements to Northland rail.

    • Vance Barrett

      Fund improvements for what?
      There is hardly any trains using this line.
      Spending more money on it won’t change that.
      Better to spend money on the ‘third main’ and Pukekohe electrification.

  • Andy C

    Or do both!
    I am very much in favour of improved rail links but most people use cars as a way of getting around right now. Motorways never work well in cities but they are effective for
    cross-country travel

  • Andy C

    Work has been going on for the Warkworth to Wellsford route planning for a couple of years now, although the actual design procurement didn’t officially happen until later last year.

  • Tony

    Awesome. Should keep the traffic off my route north SH16. Woot!

    • Stu Donovan

      Did you mean to imply that you evaluate the merits of government transport proposals based on “what’s good for you”?

      If so, then I — for one — cannot respect opinions that you express.

      • Tony

        Off course. What else am I going to base it on? Some economists crap? Maybe some psuedo-intellectual Patrick crap?

        • Fair enough Tony. Maybe we can make representations so that the route goes through your back yard so that you get the most possible savings in travel time.

        • Stu Donovan

          why not evaluate government policies based on what you think is good for the population as a whole? Rather than what is good for you?

          • Tony

            Bloody hell stu I was being facetious. But other than the question of cost I think this is good for the population. Particularly that portion who die on the current shocking piece of road. Target zero and all that remember.

            And why shouldn’t I celebrate the improvement to my own situation/safety?

            Ps, I’ve read something somewhere that indicated this may not be a full on 4 lane motorway thingie but instead a 2 lane separated highway with increased passing lanes.

          • Stu Donovan

            if you’re going to make facetious and/or insulting comments (I have no idea what motivated your comment about Patrick, for example), then *at least* take the time to inject some humour into your comments.

  • JimboJones

    I’m all for the govt spending money on decent road links between cities as they are currently terrible and I can’t see rail ever being an alternative without stupidly massive investment (with even lower BCRs than this).
    But within Auckland I would like to see a road spend freeze with every dollar spent on PT.

  • William Henry

    I smell an election coming up, time to spend money on the North to win back the seat they lost.
    Pork barrel politics anyone?

    • luke

      given simon bridges officially opened the kapiti expressway and talked of a 4 lane highway from wellington airport to north of levin today, you could well be right. i suspect the levin motorway will be a similar boondogle

    • Brutus Iscariot

      You’re thinking in First Past the Post terms. “Winning seats” doesn’t really matter anymore, except insofar as they can swing the Party vote substantially. And there just aren’t that many votes up North.

      • Mike (the longstanding one)

        Winning seats matters very much indeed for small parties (a matter of political life and death), and for their potential coalition partners (whether they can form a government).

        • Neither NZ First nor National are under threat of missing out on Parliament, the result of the Northland seat will be inconsequential to the make up of Parliament, it will just be pride on the line.

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            You must have an excellent crystal ball to be so confident that NZ First will get over the 5% threshold (they’ve failed in the past), and that neither of the large parties will be looking for such a coalition partner.

          • Jezza

            No crystal ball, just unless I have missed one I don’t think they have polled much below 10 % for quite a while, and they usually pick up once a campaign gets going as Winston is the master campaigner. I’m picking they will get at least 15 %, especially with immigration being a hot topic again, as it was in 1996, his best result so far.

            I’m no fan of NZ First but I’m also a realist.

  • Paul M

    I am sure you all agree, regardless of the election timing, the people of Northland a very poorly served by the current roading infrastructure that dates back to the 1950’s. Northland also has some massive issues with poverty and unemployment alongside the East Cape it is amongst the worse in NZ (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11254032). Companies that might want to invest in Northland, that could make a difference to its economy, are put off by the poor connections into the primary domestic markets they need to serve. The climate in Northland offers some great horticulture options and with the abundance of potential workers makes this is a real opportunity. Individuals that might want to seek work within the region are also restricted. I would love to see improved investment in building a national freight rail network that could provide timely and low-cost bulk movement of freight from all NZ’s regions, but this needs to go hand in hand with at least basic roading investment. The announced closure of the Cadbury factory in Dunedin and its MD saying that a key factor is the cost of freighting products from the factory to its key markets at a reasonable cost should serve as a warning that the country needs to address this as well.

    • Dan C

      So do you think the $2bill should be spent improving transport within northland rather than the auckland holiday highway?

      Cadburys in Dunedin is a short drive to a major port. No amount of motorway building is going to reduce your transport costs further than that.

      • Paul M

        Dunedin freight issues show a problem for rail and domestic costal shipping costing. It is not good that it is cheaper to ship from Melbourne. I agree that their is nothing wrong with its roads.

        • Jezza

          More of the Cadbury product produced in Dunedin is shipped to Australia than the rest of NZ, that is why they are moving, not because of the cost of freight from Dunedin to the rest of NZ.

          One of the reasons they stayed in Dunedin so long was cheap domestic freight, as they were able to take advantage of backloading, as more freight moves North to South than the other way around, so they were able to take advantage of empty trucks.

      • Paul M

        Lose the holiday highway tag; this is unfair especially when you talk about the road north of Warkworth it is pretty insulting to anyone who lives in that region who certainly do not see it as a holiday highway. Northland needs a link to NZ’s commercial heart. It also needs other roads fixed as well my understanding is this has already started but also has a long way to go.

        The issues are made worse in holidays but are also appalling in mornings and evenings for people who commute from Warkworth and Wellsford. Don’t get me wrong I am a pro-rail/public transport person. For the shorter distance from Wellsford down should be covered by either a busway or my preference an upgraded dual rail line that could move people quickly into Auckland CBD, but unfortunately, we still need an improved highway for traffic from further up now and into the medium term.

        As an example for me, the best thing that could happen in the Waikato region, probably well covered off on this site, now is to improve the rail line and put in trains that can move passengers at a speed that would get them out of cars and leave the roads for commercial traffic. The building of the Waikato expressway has shown that a motorway alone does not deliver a total transport solution an integrated approach is required. Made clear when the building of cheaper houses in Pokeno occurs without giving them a good public transport option is a joke especially given the rail proximity.

        • Jezza

          I don’t have an issue with significantly improving the road north, however this is an over the top solution that appears to be more targeted at keeping the construction industry busy.

          All the road needs is bypasses of Warkworth and Wellsford, better passing opportunities, some of the tighter curves being straightened, and more median barriers. The leftover money could then fund vital infrastructure further north, this proposed road doesn’t even reach Northland.

    • J Morton

      I agree – but it is better to have a route PLANNED to protect the corridor for the future, and allow the current land owners and local boards etc to plan around the route.
      This is called Planning For The Future.
      The actual road does not have to be built now.
      Yes, in the mean time all efforts should be made with improvements to the existing road to improve safety.
      BUT WE HAVE A PLAN!

  • 01anthony

    ernst zollner taught a class i took at university many years ago … I’m disappointed to hear he’s such a strong advocate for this highway.

  • JDELH

    $1b would be enough to build a small university in Whangarei. Expand NorthTec into an “indigenous university” partnering with a wananga.

    Benefits >

    • Bigted

      Yes but it doesn’t help you being able to get there.

    • Sacha

      Yes, if Northlanders were asked what to invest $1b in to improve their region, a duplicate highway south would come a long way down the list compared with local education and business development.

      Most future jobs do not revolve around transporting stuff. It’s wasting valuable funds building infrastructure for the previous century, not the next one.

      • Paul M

        I don’t think anyone here is saying that transport infrastructure should go ahead of building educational infrastructure. This is a transport forum and addressing that issue. I think expanding the NorthTec is a great idea and I hope that someone is also lobbying for this, Invercargill does a great job developing its city with this approach. Business development is very hard to achieve when you cannot connect companies to their customers in a timely manner and workers can’t get to their jobs let alone regional students getting to an expanded campus.

        • Sacha

          The highway project has been justified by its backers solely in terms of economic benefits to Northland, so it seems fair to consider that angle.

          Whangarei has a head-start in being the first completely-fibred city in NZ, but enterprises to take advantage of that are unlikely to spring up fast enough without conscious state support and planning. Again, more roads are a long way down the list of required infrastructure for the region’s future. It’s not the 1950s any more.

          • Paul M

            I agree with you, the Government needs to take a much more active role to develop centres like Northland, transport infrastructure is only a small part of this. The potential Hawaiki Cable project, which will land the cable near Whangarei, will compliment the existing fibre city project work and provide good opportunities to build data centres with low latency connectivity to the US. Better government endorsement of that project would help, it has been too lacking to date. But there is no tech centre in the world that is built without a reasonable transport connection regardless of how 1950’s that is. As an owner of a cloud based tech business that employs 12 people I wouldn’t want to be in such a poorly connected region without a decent road and I doubt others would either. The government does need a more comprehensive policy than just roading I agree but this transport project is some time away as they have said it is a plan.

          • Dan C

            But taking 2mins off a 2 hour trip to Auckland and not improving connectivity to closer destinations would encourage u to locate there? Just to save 0.07ms on your ping to the US via that particular cable?

          • Paul M

            During mornings, evenings and holidays the trip is way more than 2 hours and the potential time savings likewise. This is not the only justification.

  • In terms of through traffic (holiday especialy), to state obviously perhaps, these roads don’t really improve much until they reach a major destination or departure point. The extension of the motorway south through Bombay past Pokeno is probably a good obvious example where the traffic split fairly evenly between SH1 & 2 so was a major improvement on the past holiday jam points. I guess Warkworth with all it’s development going on will be significant enough to make the traffic terminating there worth it. One downside to more of these is we become lazy inattentive and faster drivers as it’s too easy to drive on them, once we get back to the old single lane bumpy NZ roads we can’t handle it and get increasingly out of practise driving in these conditions.

  • Bryce P

    NZTA say the current road is expensive to maintain. So, who gets to pick up the maintenance costs of the current road once the new one is built? Yip, the Auckland ratepayer. I did a quick, very conservative, calc, based on 23,000 vehicles per day (20,k under 3.5 tonnes, 3k 3.5 tonnes and up) of how much RUC/Petrol taxes from this piece of road will collect over 30 years. With no inflation: $269 million.

    • Sailor Boy

      It’s worse than that too. Warkworth Wellsford only has 11,000 vpd and 1,000 heavy vehicles and Puhoi-Warkworth is 20,000 and 13,00.

    • Paul M

      While it does not make it better, Auckland ratepayers do no pay transit maintenance costs NZ taxpayers do.

      • Jezza

        That’s not correct, once it looses its State Highway status, 50 % will be funded by ratepayers, and 50 % by the NLTF.

      • conan

        They will be paying for the current route between Puhoi and Warkworth once the holiday highway open as they do the old state highway route to Puhoi.

      • John Polkinghorne

        What Bryce means is that the existing road, which is currently SH1 and maintained by NZTA, will become a local road and Auckland Council’s responsibility once the new Puhoi-Warkworth route is complete.

        • And, if the road is as prone to slips and flooding as NZTA suggest, that maintenance bill could be significant. Far better to continually upgrade the current route. I note that much of the Waikato Expressway works remove existing SH1 road sections so greatly reduce the maintenance bill for Waikato District Council.

  • Bigted

    Didn’t the rest of the old SH1 become SH17?

  • Laura

    As someone that was born and grew up in Northland and now lives in Auckland I would like a good rail link between Auckland and Whangarei which would allow my family to visit me and I them much more easily.

    If they did a subterranean high speed train then it would cut down the travel time to less that 1 hour, I would move back to Whangarei and commute.
    In regards to building a better highway, yes it is something to consider – actually teaching people to drive on NZ roads is another – but improved passenger and freight rail between Auckland and Whangarei would be used if it was there! The reason the current rail network doesn’t get used is that it has not been maintained and is not a cost effective option at this time.

    The deep water port in Whangarei was planned approx. 5 years ago to be turned into an International Port – the entire community wanted it to happen – but developers could not make it viable with the current transport links.

    Regarding NorthTec, you need somewhere for all of the graduates to go when they get out, unfortunately like there is an overall “brain drain” from NZ due to lack of jobs the same thing is happening in Northland to the rest of the country. Most of us like Northland, I personally love the weather, but I can’t get a job in northland because they just don’t exist.

    In summary – Northland is a Great place, better transport links, both rail and highway would enable more opportunities and a more stable economy that would be less prone to falling over. With more opportunities comes upgrades to existing infrastructure and education and less people living below the poverty line.

    • A subterranean railway between Auckland and Whangarei would be eye-wateringly expensive, the obvious question would be who would pay for it. I would like to be teleported back to my family in Southland when I wish but I can’t see it happening.

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