What is an Indicative Route and how was it chosen?
A number of options were considered during the project investigations phase which began in 2010, with further assessment work being undertaken in 2016. Additional options to connect the route at SH1 to the north of Te Hana were investigated in 2016 and an assessment of many factors, including engineering, environmental, social and traffic was undertaken to identify an Indicative Route.
The Indicative Route presented for public consultation is preferred by the Transport Agency because it:
- Improves safety, efficiency and travel time reliability for all road users
- Removes regional heavy traffic from the town centres of Wellsford and Te Hana
- Has less adverse effects on the environment compared to other options considered
- Improves network resilience in severe weather and other adverse natural events
- Avoids or minimises possible impacts on potential areas of cultural significance
When will the motorway be constructed?
The next step in the development of the Warkworth to Wellsford project is to obtain the required statutory approvals. This is expected to proceed during 2017/2018. Timing of construction will be reviewed following the outcome of this approvals process, as part of the wider development of the state highway programme through the 2018-21 national land transport programme.
What is the estimated cost for constructing this project?
The project is estimated to cost in the order of $1.4-1.8 billion to construct, based on current (2016) construction costs. Estimated project costs will be revised once an Indicative Alignment is confirmed following public consultation and the completion of the Detailed Business Case for the project.
Thereafter, the project costs will be further updated when construction timeframes are known.
What are the benefits for Wellsford and Te Hana?
The motorway is predicted to take regional through traffic, particularly heavy traffic, out of the main street (current SH1) which will mean less noise and pollution and safer access for pedestrians and other road users wanting to conduct business or community activities in Wellsford and Te Hana.
By locating the Indicative Route to the east of Wellsford it allows space for the town to develop eastwards without being constrained by the location of the future motorway.
Connections to the south (at Wayby Valley Road) and the north (at Mangawhai Road) provide two options for Wellsford and Te Hana road users to access the motorway, and regional traffic to access these communities.
What will happen to the existing state highway through the Dome Valley and Wellsford?
Once constructed, the new motorway between Warkworth and Te Hana will be reclassified as SH1. The existing road will remain fully operational, although the state highway status is likely to be revoked and the route will then become a ‘local’ road. Consideration will need to be given to the extent of SH16, which currently terminates at its junction with SH1 in Wellsford, as part of this process.
How will Warkworth to Wellsford connect to Pūhoi to Warkworth?
The Indicative Route for Warkworth to Wellsford connects with the Pūhoi to Warkworth section in the vicinity of Woodcocks/Carran/Wyllie Roads in Warkworth. The Pūhoi to Warkworth section is be constructed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract. For more information about the Pūhoi Warkworth Project go to https://nx2group.com
Why does the motorway extend all the way to the north of Te Hana?
In the options development and assessment phase, there were a number of physical, environmental and cultural constraints identified in and around Te Hana. These constraints made it sensible to look at an option that ties-in to the existing SH1 north of Te Hana and avoided these areas. Options that went through Te Hana would have significant cost and potential environmental impacts, and these impacts could not be avoided with options that tie-in just north of Wellsford.
Why is the motorway located so far east of Wellsford?
The location of the Indicative Route takes into consideration many factors. Significant influencers are ground conditions, areas of cultural, historical and ecological significance and existing major infrastructure such as the Wiri oil pipeline, electricity corridor and rail line.
Taking an eastern route ensures we avoid impacts on some significant historical sites and also avoid an area of particularly challenging ground conditions near Wellsford township. It also means future development of Wellsford can occur to the east without being unduly constrained by the location of the motorway.
Why are there changes proposed for Vipond Road?
To improve safety on the state highway where the proposed motorway ties-in to the existing SH1, we need to make some changes to current Vipond Road access. The existing Vipond Road intersection with SH1 will be closed. The two currently formed sections of Vipond Road will be connected by building or ‘forming’ the section of Vipond Road along the alignment that is currently a ‘paper road.’ Vipond Road residents will only be able access their properties via the Vipond Road intersection with Mangawhai Road and not directly from SH1.
What strategies and plans support the Warkworth to Wellsford project?
There are a number of strategies that support and/or complement the Warkworth to Wellsford project.
These include the Transport Agency’s “Programme Business Case” for the Auckland to Whangarei Corridor (2016) which includes a recommendation that the Warkworth to Wellsford RoNS is extended to north of Te Hana.
At the southern end of the Warkworth to Wellsford stage is the “Supporting Growth, Delivering Transport Networks” programme area of Warkworth. This is a joint programme between Auckland Transport and the Transport Agency to deliver a transport network across the region that responds to Auckland’s growing housing and business areas.
The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) also sets out a new strategic approach for future investment in transport in Auckland. A joint project involving Auckland Council, the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Transport, the Transport Agency, the Treasury and the State Services Commission, the report issued in June 2016 recommends an indicative package of transport investment, for the next 30 years. As well as investing in Auckland, the project has considered how best to provide for the essential transport links both to Northland, and to the high volume freight routes between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.
How does the project relate to economic growth in Northland?
New Zealand’s economic wellbeing depends on us being able to move the goods that we manufacture or grow to market as efficiently as possible. The more efficient our transport network, the more competitive our businesses and our economy.
One of the key enablers for improving the economic performance of Northland is transport accessibility. This has been confirmed through the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan (2016) which aims to reinvigorate Northland’s economy through an all-of-government approach. Route protection (designation and consents) for the Warkworth to Wellsford stage of the Ara Tuhono Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance (RoNS) is included in this plan.
What are the Roads of National Significance (RoNS)?
The RoNS programme is a government investment initiative designed to ease impediments to efficient road based travel in and around our five largest metropolitan areas, and link our major sea and air ports more effectively with the state highway network.
Announced in 2009, the programme of seven projects aims to deliver an effective, efficient, safe, secure, accessible and resilient transport system that supports the growth of our country’s economy to deliver greater prosperity, security and opportunities for all New Zealanders.
The Warkworth to Wellsford project is the second stage of the Ara Tūhono Pūhoi to Wellsford RoNS.
What is route protection?
Route protection is the first of many project stages and describes a process to identify and protect land for a future public work, in this case, the Warkworth to Wellsford project. The process involves the Transport Agency applying for a designation to be placed over the land that would be required for the construction and operation of the project.
Route protection is not intended to finalise the form or function of the project, but protects the land from any development that could potentially make construction of the project more difficult in the future.
What is the effect of route protection?
Land will be required in the future for the construction and operation of the Warkworth to Wellsford project.
Protecting the route provides long term planning certainty for the Transport Agency, individuals, businesses and communities and ensures the land is protected against adverse development until the time that the project is ready to be built.
The Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan (2016), an all of Government initiative, has confirmed the desire of the NZ Government to protect the route for the Warkworth to Wellsford project by 2018.
Once the land has been designated and the designation included in the Auckland Unitary Plan, any application for new development within the designated land would need to be discussed and its acceptability to the Transport Agency confirmed, prior to the development receiving consideration for approval by Auckland Council.
What opportunities will people have to provide comment on the Indicative Route?
Land owners, communities, road users and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide comments and feedback on the different aspects of the Indicative Route either online at www.nzta.govt.nz/warkworth-wellsford or by visiting one of our five public information days in February.
A second round of public engagement will take place later in 2017.
We encourage people to sign up to stay informed on the project’s progress as we work to protect the route for future construction. Visit www.nzta.govt.nz/warkworth-wellsford and leave your email details to join our project database.
What happens next?
Feedback received through this consultation process, including meetings with directly affected landowners, key stakeholders, iwi and as a result of wider public feedback, will help further refine the route.
Geotechnical and environmental investigations will be also undertaken in early 2017 to gain greater understanding of the ground conditions and better understand the environmental issues and other constraints surrounding the Indicative Route.
As a result of these inputs an “Indicative Alignment” will be identified around mid-2017. This would be the alignment which is then taken forward for designation and consent applications.
Further targeted consultation and public engagement will occur prior to lodging a Notice of Requirement to designate land and consent applications.
How can I find out more?
Please contact the Warkworth to Wellsford project team if you have any questions or would like to meet with us directly. The Warkworth to Wellsford project hub is located at 11C Neville Street Warkworth (behind the old BNZ bank) and open by appointment only. Please phone or email us to make an appointment.
Freephone:0508 927 2935 (0508 WAR2WELL)